Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Saturday, May 30, 2009
More Dam Logic
Please forward this e-mail to your Sturbridge neighbors, friends and family, and other Sturbridge residents. Please respond to me after reading this if you can join me:
Last Thursday evening, an informational meeting was held about dam removal and stream restoration at Hamant Brook. There was good attendance by residents who heard about and saw successful examples of dam removal projects, presented by representatives from American Rivers, Trout Unlimited, and MA Riverways Program.
The general consensus by residents was that dam removal and stream restoration was a good option - there are more pros than cons - plus the burden of cost is taken off residents' shoulders through available mitigation funds and other funding sources.
In attendance at the meeting, the Chairman of the Sturbridge Conservation Commission stated he would send an e-mail to the Selectboard the next day, to set a date to facilitate discussions; however, to my knowledge that has not happened.
RECAP: The Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety requires that Phase I inspections are completed on the Upper and Middle Pond Dams, at a cost of $7,000-$8,000 EACH; reports are due by August and October 2009. These Orders were received in the Selectboard's office on May 3rd and are the first step in the process toward bringing the dams into conformance with Dam Safety Regulations.
The town does NOT have the option of allowing the dams to naturally disintegrate -the choices are: repair, or replace, and there are deadlines and costs involved; OR, approve the Department of Fish & Game's proposal to remove the dams and restore the stream at no cost to residents.
Residents have not been made aware of the costs and deadlines involved with keeping the dams in place. To date, there has been no movement on this issue by the Conservation Commission, Selectboard, or Finance Committee. The 62-62 split vote at town meeting indicates there IS support for dam removal. **The town WILL be expected to fund costs of all inspections, permitting, design, repair or replacement, and maintenance of the dams.**
Estimates to REPAIR these two dams currently range from $487,000 to $517,000. Estimates to REPLACE the dams go as high as $1.2 million, which does not include inspections, design, permitting or future maintenance.
Please respond to this e-mail: Can you join me in a Citizen's Forum on Monday, June 1st, 8:30 pm, at the Selectboard meeting at the Sturbridge Senior Center? We must ask the Selectboard to face this issue. The decision to keep or remove the dams is needed soon!