20 years after Gaston’s rains, Henrico celebrates start of work to revive Lake Overton

Project will bring new dam, environmental improvements, public access

Richard Flanagan can’t wait to see Lake Overton vibrant once again, with fishing and other recreation, as it was before Hurricane Gaston’s remnants brought pounding rain in 2004.

“I know it was 11 inches per two hours, because that’s what I dumped out of my basement,” said Flanagan, president of the Three Fountains North Civic Association.

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The storm damaged the lake’s earthen dam so severely that the water level had to be lowered to ensure safety. As a result, the lake’s footprint shrunk from about 7.5 acres to about 4.3 acres.

Today, Flanagan and other residents joined Henrico County officials in celebrating the start of a project that will revive the lake to about 5.4 acres and deliver a new dam and a host of environmental improvements. It also will clear the way to provide public access to the lake by extending a trail from nearby Three Lakes Park.

“Doing all we can to protect our environment is a priority for Henrico County. It’s also a priority for me,” Fairfield District Supervisor Roscoe D. Cooper III said. “I’m proud to continue to help bring projects like this into my district. It’s a win for the neighborhood and for all of Henrico County.”

Henrico breaks ground on Lake Overton safety and environmental improvements


Henrico County will soon begin construction on a project that will provide a new earthen dam and other improvements at Lake Overton to address longstanding safety concerns and enhance water quality. County officials gathered today with community members and others at the site off Wilkinson Road, near Three Lakes Park, for a ground-breaking ceremony.

The dam in Lake Overton was damaged during Hurricane Gaston in 2004 and no longer meets state requirements. As a safety precaution, Henrico lowered the lake’s water level until repairs could be made. The lake is owned by the Three Fountains North Civic Association.

About 20 homes back up to the lake in both the Three Fountains North and Overbrook Park subdivisions. Without the planned improvements, the lake could begin to pose a safety hazard to the nearby homes and Three Lakes Park, county officials say.

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“By taking the lead on this project, the county is able to not just repair the dam but make other improvements as well,” Fairfield District Supervisor Roscoe D. Cooper III said.

Henrico worked with the civic association to come to an agreement whereby Henrico will manage the repairs to the dam while making other environmental improvements to the lake as well as eventually developing a public trail leading from the subdivision into Three Lakes Park. The project will cost about $1.5 million, partially covered by a grant from the state.

“All of these new water quality and pedestrian features fit in with our overall goals,” said Terrell Hughes, director of Henrico’s Department of Public Works. “The county has really put a focus on environmental projects in recent years, and I’m excited to keep that trend going with projects like this.”

Henrico is required to meet goals and standards laid out by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, including specific targets that improve water quality and reduce pollutants going to the Chesapeake Bay. The improvements at Lake Overton and projects like it will help Henrico continue to exceed DEQ’s goals, according to Hughes.

The project is expected to begin in May and is estimated to take about nine months to complete. The construction will also include native plants around the lake, erosion protection and the creation of a forebay to manage water flow.

For more information on dam safety in Henrico, visit Public Works’ website.

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