Tempe City Council approves $12.4 million upgrade to Town Lake Dam

TEMPE, AZ - The Tempe City Council voted 7-0 Thursday night in favor of a $12.4 million upgrade for the Tempe Town Lake dam.

The current rubber dam burst back in 2010, emptying the lake.

City leaders fixed the problem, but say a steel dam would offer a more permanent solution.

Assistant City Manager Jeff Kulaga says, "It makes sense for our climate. We believe it's for safety, and reliability and meeting the flood water needs and durability; the steel gate with the hydraulic pistons is the right choice for our needs and conditions."

The city says it will be the largest steel dam in the country. Construction should start in the Spring and finish by the end of 2015.  If it's not done by then, the rubber dam, which is on loan, would cost the city $300,000 a month just to rent.

The $12.4 million contract would just fund the steel gates. The next step would be to approve another contract around $22 million for a company to fully build the dam.

The city says it has $4 million dollars on hand as part of the Capital Improvement Plan, and bond money that voters approved a couple years ago. City leaders hope future revenue would come from land sales or leases, however, asking taxpayers for more money could be an option.

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