UPDATE: Lime Kiln park to close until further notice

Update – On June 4, 2021, the Neosho Police Department released that the Lime Kiln park will be closed until further notice. “There will be no trespassing in the park, violators are subject to prosecution,” stated the department.

(Original Article, June 3, 2021) NEOSHO, Mo. – A stray bottle flips and rotates, stuck in a seemingly endless loop at Lime Kiln Dam on Thursday.

“During high flood events there can often be a backflow that is created at the base of the dam that can be hazardous,” explains Aaron Jeffries with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

That backflow is why some are calling for the dams removal. A petition started this week calls for the dam to be fixed, while those sharing the petition on social media are calling for its removal altogether. The petition calls the dam a “death trap” for swimmers and fisherman, saying there aren’t many signs warning about the dam and no fences or gates preventing people from entering the dam.

A sign is present, warning of the danger that the dam poses to people outside of a boat or canoe, but there are no signs telling people not to swim. We asked the Missouri Department of Conservation why.

“Swimming is already prohibited at all department accesses,” says Jeffries.

We also spoke with the Neosho City Manager, who says there is a project in the works that will make the dam much safer.

“We’ve completed phase one of the project,” says Neosho City Manager David Kennedy.

Kennedy explains that the dam, which was built in the 1940’s, currently provides 85 percent of the city’s water. So removing it altogether is not an option. Instead, since 2019, the city has been working with several agencies to turn the dam into a “rocky ramp dam.” Discussions were started in 2019 as a way to help preserve the habitat in the area — so that fish and wildlife can more easily travel upstream. But he says the project will make the dam much safer for everyone.

“It’s more like you’re just going over a series of rapids at that point instead of just a natural drop off,” explains Kennedy. “I would absolutely think it would make it a lot more safe for those canoers and many things like that going from upstream to down stream.”

At the last city council meeting, the city approved an engineering agreement for the construction phase of the project. Kennedy isn’t sure when the project will be complete, but says the total cost will come in around 500 thousand dollars. That cost will be covered by grants.