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Work begins on restoring Lake Tchukolako next week

After two years of fundraising, a contractor will begin work on the dam that failed two years ago.

IVEY, Ga. — In May 2020, the dam in Lake Tchukolako in Wilkinson County gave way and all of the water drained out.

Many people like Bill Sheppard began the long road to getting the water back.

"It's been a rollercoaster the whole time," he described.

Life is about to get a little more even-keeled for Bill.

He is the president of the Holiday Hills homeowners group.

"Our contractor will begin the work to start the build of the dam," he said confidently.

Lake Tchukolako is fed by Commissioner Creek, so next week when they start working on the dam, folks are going to see immediate progress as the water starts to flow through.

"We've taken down a lot of trees, and as you can see, there are many more on both sides that have to be taken down," Bill calculated.

A full lake will kill out the fast-growing black widow tree. 

Sheppard says they've had to rely on local manpower, primarily on the weekends. 

Getting someone to do it professionally didn't figure into the budget for the tiny town.

"I think it's brought people together," he said with a smile. 

Those that didn't have chainsaws and weed-eaters organized yard sales and other events.

The total cost will ring in at well over $100,000 for the project.

Bill says last year they raised $80,000.

It's a drop in the bucket.

"We're looking in the future not just to have fundraisers, but to have some corporate sponsors," Bill said, but for now, the talk of the town is that the plans are in place.

The lake is private but they do let folks join as associate members.