Friday, May 18, 2001
Study to repair Greenough Dam receives nod from Town Meeting
The Warrant article seeking $13,050 for engineering studies to determine what will be required to restore the integrity of the Greenough Dam passed without even a trickle of opposition at the Tuesday night session of Town Meeting. Conservation commissioner Jo Rita Jordan put her audience in a receptive mood by showing colored slides of Greenough Pond in its full fall splendor and telling them, "This is what's at stake if we let the dam go." The 70-year-old structure is all that holds back the flow of Pages Brook to produce the pond and extensive upstream wetlands.
Jordan followed her emotional tug with a point by point exposition of the town's options, given that the earthen structure is threatened by the growth of sizeable, unstable trees along its top and sides and erosion at the corners of the larger spillway. She indicated that of the three alternative actions available, namely, ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away; undertaking the necessary repairs according to a sound plan including adoption of a long-range maintenance plan, or deliberately decommissioning the structure and letting the pond go, the cheapest by far would be to authorize the study and follow its recommendations. The engineering experts at Robert Stevens Associates would assess the problem, draw up detailed engineering specifications and provide a maintenance handbook.
The Warrant article authorizing the study, which had the endorsement of both the board of selectmen and the finance committee, was supported from the floor by Dan Tobin of the trails committee. Putting practical heft behind his words, he promised that upon a positive vote from the attendees, the trails committee would launch a weekend work party to top trees and clear brush to make way for the dam assessment experts.
Although estimates of the eventual cost of the renovation run the gamut from $30,000 to $120,000, the final price tag will not be known until the study has been completed. Indications are that state and possible private funding can be found to lighten the taxpayers' burden.
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