By Chris Edwards
COLMESNEIL – A day that many Tyler County residents undoubtedly thought would never arrive is coming.
The rebuilding of the Lake Amanda dam is nearing completion, and a celebration is planned, complete with a ribbon cutting for Saturday, June 8.
The event will celebrate the long road it has taken to rebuild the dam, which was lost during the Memorial Day flood of 2016. Kirwin Drouet, who serves as the Lake Amanda Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 (LAWCID) president said that the celebration will feature no speeches, but “just fellowship celebrating the completion of our beautiful Lake Amanda dam.”
Work on the project began last August with a Chester-based firm, HC Oilfield Services, handling the construction. The cost for the project came out to $980,263. The plans entailed a new dam that is structurally designed to withstand another disaster, according to Drouet. He referred to it as “the Taj Mahal of dams.”
The flooding caused a complete collapse of the dam, which led to severe flooding and a 100-foot section of it to wash downstream. Amanda’s sister lake, Frog Pond, escaped harm due in part to a horizontal concrete spillway that was a few feet lower than its dam and prevented water from spilling over it.
In the wake of the catastrophic loss, Drouet and other Lake Amanda property owners formed LAWCID, which was ratified in Nov. 2016. Along with the ratification of the district, voters also approved $1 million in bonds to repair the dam.
In May 2018, voters approved a half-million dollar increase to the bonds and that June, the Texas Water Development Board approved LAWCID’s application for a 30-year loan of $1.5 million. LAWCID received the proceeds from the loan on August 3 and ground was broken on the new dam on August 10.
The celebration of the new dam will take begin at 10:30 a.m. at the entrance to the boat ramp at the end of county road 3215 on the east side of the dam, where a cornerstone bronze plaque is set to be unveiled.
Following the cornerstone presentation, a luncheon celebration party, sponsored by the Lake Amanda Homeowners Association, will take place at the Gathering Place, located north of Colmesneil on U.S. 69.