Council still uncertain on troubled Brentwood Today Lake

ccampbell@newsobserver.comNovember 27, 2013 

— More than a year after a decaying dam broke and drained Brentwood Today Lake, city leaders still aren’t sure how to deal with the body of water.

For years, homeowners in the neighborhood off Capital Boulevard have wanted the city to take over the lake and make the necessary repairs, which could run nearly $2 million.

But for that to happen, Raleigh is requiring residents to form a homeowners association and buy the lake property from a company that includes William Yadusky, grandson of John Adams, the original developer of Brentwood. Yadusky has said he’s unable to pay for any dam repairs, and not enough neighbors are interested in joining an association.

Councilman John Odom, who represents the area, has been lobbying for the city to take on the project anyway.

“I think that past councils agreed to clean this lake out,” he said Tuesday during a public works committee meeting. “The dollars are there, so I think it’s a shame that we’re not doing that and taking over.”

The city is considering smaller-scale repairs that would remove the failed dam but wouldn’t refill the lake. That project would require property owners’ approval but would carry a smaller cost to the city. It would also have water quality benefits and could help minimize the sediments flowing into the city-owned Beaman Lake downstream of Brentwood Today.

Don Munk lives next to the lake – now largely dried out – and says he’s skeptical of plans to create a wetland. He pointed out that the streams feeding the lake carry stormwater and trash from the Mini-City area of Capital Boulevard.

“A wetlands would certainly catch a lot of that debris and make it fairly unsightly,” he said.

Munk says the city should be conscious of what vegetation a wetland would involve. He and other neighbors miss the 7-acre lake that was considered the “crown jewel” of the Brentwood neighborhood.

“If it was a wetland, I would want it to be something with marsh grasses – something attractive that wildlife would enjoy as much as the homeowners,” he said.

The wetland approach would cost the city $750,000 to $1 million. A cheaper option, ranging from $300,000 to $450,000, would simply remove the broken dam and spillway and spruce up the stream bed through the former lake.

Brentwood Today is one of many neighborhood lakes built decades ago that suffer from crumbling infrastructure. City funds are restoring many of them, but that’s because the properties aren’t privately owned.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council committee took no action on Brentwood Today, with members saying they want to gather more information about the possible options.

Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter

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