WILLIAMSON - The Williamson Health and Wellness Center board of directors presented a check worth $8,000 to the City of Williamson to be used for the Tug River Dam Mitigation Project on Monday, Aug. 5, at the historic Mountaineer Hotel in downtown Williamson.
The Dam Mitigation project would see the dangerous low head dam that pushes water back and feeds it into the Williamson Water Plant be reconstructed and made passable for kayakers and other Tug River boaters.
The spot is currently a danger to all kayakers on the Tug, particularly ones who are not familiar with the water. In the summer of 2016, the Williamson and Belfry fire departments had to team together to save a kayaker from drowning after trying to go over top of the dam.
Local anglers have voiced their concerns on the Facebook page Friends of the Tug Fork River as the dam is currently a hot spot along the Tug River for hauling in fish of all sorts and has been dubbed by locals as the "killer dam."
The $8,000 donation will be used as a cash match from a grant awarded by the National Coal Heritage Authority, who has been working on getting the Tug Fork River designated as a water trail, which would open up other resources for development of the entire length of the river.
Several members of the WHWC board of directors presented the check. Accepting on behalf of the city of Williamson was City Clerk Meredith Anderson, City Council members Ralphie Hall and Sherri Hairston Brown (also a WHWC Board Member) and volunteer project leader and Planning and Zoning Committee John Burchett.
Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by phone at 304-236-3541.