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Council questions safety of Hargus Lake dam

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Trish Bennett, Editor

CIRCLEVILLE – The safety of the dam at Hargus Lake was briefly discussed Tuesday during an otherwise uneventful meeting of Circleville City Council.

Citing an article in a weekend edition of the Columbus Dispatch, councilman Tom Spring said the report indicated the local dam at A.W. Marion State Park has been considered a problem since at least 1985 and cannot withstand a significant flood.

Reading from the article, Spring said, “Although its capacity is one-fifth that of Buckeye Lake’s, if it failed, Hargus Lake’s floodwaters would potentially kill people and destroy houses and farms in a 4-mile path all the way into Circleville.”

“It struck me,” he said, “that maybe it would be worth our while to try to get a report from the county EMA or [Ohio Department of Natural Resources] to get a better understanding of what is the condition of that dam, what is the problem and what kind of plans do they have, and what kind of emergency plans are in place to protect our citizens here in Circleville between here and the dam.”

John Ankrom, city service director, volunteered to investigate the issue and report back to council with his findings.

“I have talked to the engineering firm who’s actually studying the dam, so there is some planning underway,” Ankrom said.

David M. Crawford, council president, questioned if the situation was that extreme that properties in Circleville could be affected.

“I don’t know if there’s a catastrophic failure what would happen,” Ankrom said. “I do know the people who were studying the Lake White dam are the same engineering group studying this dam. It’s kind of on a priority basis, and it’s not a severe situation like Lake White was.”

Ankrom said he would also contact David Conrad, director of the Pickaway County Emergency Management Agency, for his insight on the situation.

In other business, councilman Mike Logan asked Brent Bowers, city treasurer, if he could look into the city’s options for turning over two old trust funds to the Pickaway County Community Foundation and removing the city from the responsibility of overseeing them.

The William Renick Trust Fund, he said, is at least 100 years old and has been “a pain in the side of the city” for many years. There is also a Ted Lewis Trust Fund used for Ted Lewis Park he believed might also be better served under the control of PCCF than the city.

Bowers said he would contact local judges and investigate those options.

A public hearing on the tax budget was held just prior to Tuesday’s council meeting. Since council received no comments regarding the budget, it was brought forward as the only official business for Tuesday’s meeting; specifically, the first reading of a resolution adopting the budget of the City of Circleville for the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2016, and submitting the same to the county auditor.

The motion received unanimous approval to hold the item for a second reading.

Upcoming meetings include a Judicial Committee meeting at 7 p.m. June 9; a Long Range Strategic Planning meeting regarding renovations at Ted Lewis Park to be held at 7 p.m. June 10; and a Service Committee meeting set for 7 p.m. June 23, all in council chambers.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal