Lake Lure’s new mayor and town manager are planning for $5 million in refurbishments to the town’s dam. Mayor Kevin Cooley is a retired civil engineer, and Town Manager Ron Nalley, who formerly managed Montreat, was surprised to see nobody had taken action on warnings from the state. Since 2006, state inspectors have noted the concrete is losing its strength, joints between concrete slabs are leaking, materials used to seal joints are crumbling, steel is rusting, bays are showing signs of instability, the road across the top is poorly-maintained, and water is seeping under the dam’s foundations. Under new leadership, the town hired Dan Marks to comply with previously unheeded state orders to conduct inspections and develop an emergency action plan. The town is currently considering funding repairs by floating bonds and using the dam itself as collateral. Improvements would be made to ensure the dam will last another 50 years, by which time the town should have set aside enough to fund a replacement. Each year, the town would award contracts for work on that year’s capital improvements. That way, Cooley hopes to avoid problems he has seen with long-term government contracts. The dam is listed as high-risk, not because of the likelihood of failure, but because of the amount of harm failure could inflict on people and property downstream.