Funds needed for Little Laurel River Dam project

PHILIPPI – Barbour County still needs funding to move forward with a water reserve project that would store a six-month supply of water to be used in an emergency.

At their meeting Monday, Barbour County Commissioners said most of the preliminary work is complete on the Little Laurel River Dam project and that a lack of funding is the only thing hampering the project from progressing as planned.

Commission President Tim McDaniel said that Consol Energy already has committed $1 million to the project, but the project’s estimated overall cost is $6 million.

“With what happened in Charleston, it sure would be nice to have something like that,” McDaniel said, “so if the river was contaminated, we could shut the pumps off at the river and we’d have a six-month supply of water.”

Barbour County is already ahead of the game with its water reserve project, McDaniel said. Various studies have already been completed, the location has been selected and the engineering work already has been done, he said.

To further discuss the Little Laurel River Dam project, officials will meet at 10 a.m. March 15 in the Commission Chambers of the Barbour County Courthouse. Affiliates with Region 7 and the Soil Conservation of Tucker, Taylor and Barbour counties will be in attendance.

Funding the Little Laurel River Dam project, however, isn’t the only concern the Commission is dealing with.

Commissioner Phil Hart also said someone had expressed concerns to him about the condition of the exhibit hall at the fairgrounds. He said there were “serious” structural problems at the site. Commissioners decided to look into what needs to be done to determine if the exhibit hall is structurally sound or not.

“If we use it, we have to keep people off of the top floor,” McDaniel said. “We have to get somebody up there to tell us if it is still OK.”

Contact Melissa Toothman at mtoothman@theintermountain.com.