Nacogdoches County Judge Joe English is persistent in restoring $2.4 million dollars to complete Lake Naconiche. In the last 24 hours he's talked with Congressman Louie Gohmert, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and personally met with a projects director from Senator Cornyn's office. Following the Friday afternoon meeting English said, " They're taking that information back to Washington and they're going to look at other projects that are funded and see if maybe some of those programs are not going to use the money that they were expected to use and maybe fund some of that for our lake project."
The attempt may fail, but English knows it could succeed from what he's learned from Land Agent George Perry Campbell. He's been with the project the longest. Campbell said, " It's been zeroed out before. It's been zeroed out twice before that I can remember and we were fortunate both times to get, to get monies put back in."
The flood control project has been on the drawing board for Nacogdoches County since 1954. No one can provide an accurate total of the millions of state and federal tax dollars put toward the dam. At 95% completion, federal assistance is needed to the very end. Contracts with the Natural Resource Conservation Service-United States Department of Agriculture allow the agencies to provide financial and technical assistance. Campbell said, "They provide the engineering, the inspectors, the federal inspectors to make sure that the work is done in compliance with federal guidelines." The earmarked funds were eliminated with the passage of the Omnibus Appropriation Act.
Just $400,000 is needed to provide permanent vegetation to make the completed dam structurally sound. It's a small job with huge importance. Campbell knows, " We cannot impound water until the lake is structurally complete." The county can pay for that, but a two million dollar match for a park to serve the public is something much more difficult to fund without the federal assistance.