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06/11/2009

By Kara Herlihy

Warren residents are determined to prevent the Warren Village Dam from falling through the cracks, or the hole that opened up directly behind it on April 15. Governor Jim Douglas toured the historic dam June 8 with members of the Warren Village Dam Preservation Trust.

State Representative Adam Greshin invited the governor to discuss the Village Dam repair effort with residents, members of the trust and town officials, followed by a visit to the site.

FILED AN APPLICATION

The Village Dam Preservation Trust has filed an application with the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) for a stream alteration permit. Some of the repairs are routine and are typically done every 30 to 40 years, according to trust member Ellen Strauss.

Other items including repairs to a hole that developed behind the dam aren't urgent in nature, according to Strauss, but should still be maintained in the interest of preserving the dam for the future.

STICKY SITUATION

The Village Dam is listed in the state's historic places register, as are many of Warren's town buildings, including the Town Hall and the covered bridge. Strauss stressed the historic significance of the dam, that once provided hydro-electric power to Warren Village, and has been maintained and repaired by community members in years since.

In 2006, Warren residents voted down an article to remove the Village Dam. Strauss said the current application could create "a sticky situation" because ANR "has already invested a lot of time trying to take the dam out, so they probably wouldn't support a hydro project."

MANY USES

Strauss said Village Dam Trust members were "disappointed when the Friends of the Mad River turned down a demonstration of hydro-electric power."

"There are many uses for the river: swimming, recreation, history, power," Strauss said.

"Each different group has their own interest in the river; most groups are required to look at it according to their bylaws, legislation, etc.," she added.

While the Preservation Trust has limited funds for a hydro-project, Strauss said their interest is in the maintenance and repair of the dam for the future.

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