Business Owners & Residents Raise Concerns Over Possible Draining Of Buckeye Lake

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Inside Buckeye Lake Winery, Tracy Higginbotham takes a taste of his new "Sweet Lake View" wine.

It is an appropriate name, given the view he's had for the past three years.  After 24 years in corporate America, Higginbotham opened Buckeye Lake's first winery.

"It's really gone through its pinnacle of heyday back in the 50's and was on a steady decline throughout the 80's and I could be part of that rise to the pinnacle again by creating this business out here,” Higginbotham explains.

He says any possible growth at Buckeye Lake is now on hold following the recommendations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He says replacing the dam or draining the lake permanently will hurt businesses.  "That's reduced boat flow, that's reduced boat traffic, reduced opportunity.”

"Some of us folks depend upon the lake for our income,” said Buckeye Lake resident Mackey Hill.  “And that's me."

Hill lives in one of the homes on the earthen dam embankment.  She says concerns over the dam have been ongoing and she doesn't understand why the report has come out right at the time when people in the community earn the bulk of their income.

"I mean there are people who have already been through the winter and expecting their income to come back and it's not going to,” said Hill.

Until a decision is made, the state has said it will keep the water level at the lake at winter levels - which means no boating.

Higginbotham says he's already begun to make cuts for the summer.   "Oh it's certainly in jeopardy," he adds.

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