A task force studying how to rebuild the Lake Delhi dam will hold its first organizational meeting Friday. Heavy rains led to the dam’s failure on July 24th – draining the nine-mile long lake in Delaware County. Lake Delhi Recreation Association President Jim Willey believes the task force’s first priority should involve “clearing up misconceptions” about the lake.

“This is a public lake, it is not a private area. That is an incorrect perception,” Willey told Radio Iowa. “There are two public beaches. It is accessible to everyone. There’s nothing private about the lake.” Willey says only the dam is privately owned. He believes public funds should still be used to rebuild the dam.

“People who have been donating to support (the dam) should be appreciated for it – not criticized,” Willey said. “Private funds have been supporting a public facility for a lot of years, but this is beyond what people…can do by themselves, so this public water does need to have public support.” Willey says it appears the needs of hundreds of homeowners around Lake Delhi are being met. Many of those homeowners are working with FEMA and state officials to rebuild their properties.

“So now our attention is turning to the clean up of the public areas – the lake bed that has a lot of debris left in it and working on the rebuilding of the dam,” Willey said. The Lake Delhi Recover and Rebuild Task Force, created by Governor Chet Culver, is scheduled to meet for the first time at 10 a.m. Friday at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

Public input will not be taken at the meeting. The task force is planning to hold four public meetings in the Lake Delhi area in September and November. The group isn’t scheduled to issue a report until December 1st. The Lake Delhi dam was originally built in 1927.