Hearing set for Red Mill Pond

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Another step toward establishing an assessment district for the Red Mill Pond Dam repairs and maintenance will be taken on Monday, Jan. 28. The Lenawee County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed a petition to establish the normal lake level for Red Mill Pond on December 11, 2012, and the Monday hearing will allow time for public testimony.

The Lenawee County Drain Commissioner’s Office assumed operational responsibilities for the dam on December 17, 2012, after a one-year agreement, through which Wade Trim provided operational duties, expired.

“This will be the first of two hearings,” said Stephen May, Lenawee County Drain Commissioner. “The first is to set the lake level. We’re proposing a summer and winter lake level, with a one-foot difference.” May said the Drain Commission has done a preliminary study and made recommendations regarding the levels. “We’re not modifying it and it would be pretty much managed the way it has been for 50 years,” May said. Property owners around the dam have been notified.
“There would be opportunities to hear from any concerns from them or from the Department of Fisheries or the Department of Natural Resources,” he said.

Within 60 days after the hearing, a second hearing would take place, May said.
“That’s when the court would confirm the assessment district, the properties that we will present to them that we believe are liable for the assessment,” he said. “Then there would be opportunity for testimony on why they should or should not be part of the district. We will, based on the first phase of the study, present that roll for the judge for consideration.”

While the process has been time-consuming, with May stating that securing the property and getting it under the county’s jurisdiction took time to ensure no one could step forward and claim the property the dam is on in the future, repairs and maintenance work could begin by fall.

In December, May sent a letter to property owners with a preliminary schedule. Once the legal lake level and assessment district are established, the county hopes to obtain design and permit approvals by May or July of 2013. Drawdown of the pond and construction are targeted between August and October of 2013.

Repairs and maintenance alternatives that were part of a dam study in May by Fishback, Thompson, Carr and Huber of Grand Rapids included possible rehabilitation of the dam, including elimination of auxiliary spillway gates, and rehabilitating the structure and reconditioning the main gate.

Repair estimates in 2005 were estimated at $500,000. At the time of last year’s study, May hoped the work could be accomplished for something less than $200,000. He said costs would be narrowed down once bids were sought.




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