Some say it's long overdue, others rue the idea that the historic dam that once powered a grist mill along the banks of the Shiawassee River in Corunna will be but a memory.
Corunna City Council members approved a $1.2 million bid by M.J. VanDamme Inc., a company based in Gwinn, near Marquette, in Michigan's upper peninsula, to remove the dam. Officials have previously said that it would cost more to repair the dam, which was determined by a 2009 study to be a significant hazard.
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The city tried to raise money to repair and save this piece of cherished Corunna history, including turning to voters, but was unsuccessful.
The DNR and other agencies would prefer to see the dam removed rather than repaired or replaced, citing optimized fish passage upstream and recreational opportunities for small boats like kayaks and canoes. In 2016, the DNR gave the city a grant of more than $300,000 to remove it.
Grants have also been received by the State of Michigan, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.
The removal project was delayed in 2017, in part, due to concerns by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, that the river's mussel population might be adversely impacted by the narrowing of the river's channel. The project was then expected to get underway in 2018.
New documents provided to Corunna Now by Corunna City Manager Joe Sawyer indicate construction could now begin as soon as July 9th, with the entire project wrapping by mid-November.
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Celebrating 150 Years of Corunna, Michigan
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