Red Mill Dam renovation plan in process by county drain commission

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Red Mill Pond. Herald file photo.

Some simultaneous tasks are being conducted that could yet allow the Lenawee County Drain Commission to keep its goal of a late summer drawdown of Red Mill Pond so maintenance work can be done on the dam prior to winter.

The engineering firm, Fishback, Thompson, Carr and Huber (FTC&H) of Grand Rapids has 50 percent of the dam renovation plan completed, according to Lenawee County Drain Commissioner Stephen May.

“Our plan is still to do the work this fall,” May said. “We’re working simultaneously on the plan and on our permits with the Department of Environmental Quality, which also goes through the DNR and Fisheries and Wildlife. So whether we get that approved will probably be one of the determining factors on whether we can do it yet this fall.”

May said the plans would likely be in the hands of the DNR’s Dam Safety Unit within the next 60 days.

“They would then have to review and approve them,” he said.

Another factor is that the Drain Commission is also seeking grant funds that might be available for a project such as this. With an estimated price tag of $315,000 to be divided between 49 property owners within the special assessment district that was confirmed in Lenawee County Circuit Court in April, additional financial assistance for the renovations would be welcomed.

“We also have our legislators, both state and federal, keeping an eye out for possible funding, and they have been very helpful,” May said. He added that the county’s grant writer is also on the lookout. “If a financial or grant opportunity were to arise that we could apply for that might not be approved right away, that could be a factor on whether or not we could get the work done yet this fall as well,” May said.

May said the $315,000 is an estimated cost, and will become more solid as the plan is completed, and bids are sought. He said each property owner’s share of the cost is not based on the value of their property and may not be an equal division, but factors such as frontage are taken into consideration, and the fact that other entities in addition to residential property owners are part of the assessment district, such as a railroad, the city of Tecumseh, and other commercial interests.

“This may be a little different in the way that the costs are divided, but it will be fairly consistent with the methodology we put together,” he said.




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