Lake Ralph Hall

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

FANNIN COUNTY, Tex. -- Fannin County is one step closer to adding a new lake to its landscape that officials say will benefit area residents and attract more people to the county. Daniel Gotera has more.

Lake Ralph Hall has been in the planning stages since 2001, but negotiations between the county and the upper trinity water district have not gone as planned until this week.

Seven thousand acres of land ravaged by erosion surround the North Sulphur River outside Ladonia, but this seemingly useless piece of land could soon become part of a plan to invigorate the area.

"Lemons into lemonade because there are some definite lemons there and any thing that has tried something up there to stop the erosions basically hasn’t worked," Fannin County Judge Butch Henderson says.

Thomas Taylor and the rest of the upper trinity water district have drawn up plans for a 30 million gallon-per-day lake, named after Congressman Ralph Hall.

But until this week, these plans themselves were drying up, much like the water running through the river.

"They’re not going to give us a blank check that says we're going to let you have all the water that you desire. Nobody’s going to do that."

For the past couple of years, county commissioners have opposed the construction of the lake because the plan did not meet their requirements on four specific areas: economic development, the handling of roads and infrastructure, the reduction of taxable land, and the distribution of surface water throughout the county.

Taylor says now all of those concerns have been worked out with the county.

"Challenges are to be sensitive to the environment to be sensitive to the neighborhood be sensitive to the desires of property owners so that it will be a benefit."

Judge Henderson says the need for surface water is even greater now than before because the possibility of a groundwater conservation district spanning several North Texas counties. He says the best thing to do is work with upper trinity instead of trying to keep them out.

"It’s something that we can slow them down by being on the opposing side but we cant stop them."

County and Upper Trinity officials say if all goes well, the project could begin as early as this spring, but both sides say there are still some things like the acquisition of certain plots of land that need to be worked out.

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