Neighbors urge county to help fix shrinking lake

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico lake is shrinking, and those who live near it say taxpayers should be on the hook for getting it fixed. It's happening at Lake Overton, located between Chamberlayne and Wilkinson Roads in northern Henrico.

Maola Strother is a retired teacher, and for 35 years has lived just up the hill from Lake Overton. Only these days, she says it's not much of a lake.

ANDY: "So, years ago, we would've been under water right here?"
MAOLA: "We would've been up to our knees, probably."

The lake is filling up with more sediment than water, and over the years it has gone from blue to mostly brown and green. Maola and her civic association want things back the way they used to look, and they're asking the county to pay for it.

"We want the county to accept responsibility," she said.

Complicating things is the matter of ownership. The lake is not public. It's owned by the Three Fountains North Civic Association which cannot generate, on its own, the six-figure amount it would cost to dredge the lake.

"We cannot afford to have a covenant to charge everybody 'X' number of dollars," Maola said.

But neighbors say the problem is the very public issue of poor storm water management.

"When Mother Nature comes into play, you know, the water may not go where you planned it to go, and do what you want it to do," she said. "It's a private lake, they [Henrico County] keep saying."

So, for now, the talks continue, with neighbors understanding it will take a lot more than heavy rainfall to keep Lake Overton from becoming a neighborhood swamp.

"We want results. We know that you can do more to help us," Maola said about the county.

That's going to be an uphill battle, though. Henrico has a long history of not maintaining private lakes. County leaders met with neighbors Monday morning and say a formal response to their request will be made in the coming weeks.

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