Letter: Dam should go
In a recent “My Turn” article, Andrea Donlon of the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) and Amy Singler of American Rivers and The Nature Conservancy, outlined their case for removal of the Wiley & Russell Dam on the Green River in Greenfield. We have been involved with this project since its inception over eight years ago and are citizens of Greenfield.
Rebuilding the Wiley & Russell Dam, as has been proposed by Mayor Martin, makes no sense economically or ecologically. It will cost the town significantly more to repair the dam and maintain it for many years. The dam does not currently serve a useful function and has issues of safety and liability to the town. We are aware that the dam has a connection to the area’s industrial past; however, we agree with Ms. Donlon’s and Ms. Singler’s statement that there are other ways to honor our industrial heritage that are more cost effective and creative than repairing the dam, including removing most of the dam but retaining a partial section along the east bank that can be used for education and historical reference.
Many groups, as well as ordinary citizens, have put in a tremendous amount of time and effort, under a mandated public input process, to see this project through to its successful completion, with the full support of the town. In 2007, Mayor Forgey signed a letter stating that the town was requesting the CRWC work with the town’s Planning Department to begin the dam removal process. More than a half-million dollars of taxpayer funding has been spent on this project to date; all of this will be wasted if the dam is not removed. We urge the mayor to reconsider his decision to repair the Wiley & Russell dam.