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Pond restoration work begins

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(8/23) When Jeff Walter was younger, he remembers pulling up in his car next to the Frank Bentz Pond, tossing a fishing line out the window and catching trout.

The pond on Route 77 has been a recreation spot for generations of Thurmont residents for nearly a century. However, in recent years the 212-foot long, 13-foot high dam that created the two-acre pond has deteriorated and silt has built up on the bottom of the pond.

"We now have an agreement that was 6 years in the making," said Del. Paul Stull. "The state will put the pond back in its original condition and then turn it over to the town, which will share maintenance with the county."

The pond actually dates back to 1910 when Hunting Creek was dammed to control water through the power generators, where the town office is now located.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources bought the pond in 1955. Frank Bentz, then public relations director for the Game and Inland Fish Commission, had helped restore the pond that was then named for him.

Frank Bentz Jr. still lives near the pond. He said his father would be happy about the restoration work.

Harvey Bryant, chief of engineering services for the Department of Natural Resources, said he expects the work to take about 90 days.

"We plan on working on it to around Thanksgiving," he said.

As part of the work the pond will be drained and the creek will flow through a bypass. The dam will be repaired and the pond will be dredged to a depth of four to six feet, depending on when rock is hit.

"About 4 feet of the old dam will remain," Bryant said. "You'll be able to see it from downstream. Unfortunately, we couldn't keep the old dam because it was too deteriorated."

The project will cost about $550,000.

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