Cold Spring group seeks Weston funds for lower dam removal

By Shawn Cunningham
©2019 Telegraph Publishing  LLC

Task Force chair Annie Fuji’i introduces the discussion of the proposed project. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

With more than 30 people jammed into the Weston Playhouse living room, members of the Weston Community Association and the Conservation Committee explained how they came to the conclusion that the lower dam along Lawrence Hill Road should be removed and the stream bed restored.

They are asking voters on Tuesday to approve an appropriation from the town to help pay for the work.

Cold Spring Brook Task Force chair Annie Fuji’i gave a brief history of the park, which is a memorial to those who served in both world wars. It consists of two dams along the brook: an upper dam near Landgrove Road and the lower dam further closer to the Wilder Library. Fuji’i  then noted that since the lower dam was breached during Tropical Storm Irene, that structure has been a safety concern because not only have kids been playing on it, the channel is broken and another storm like Irene could be problematic.

Task Force member Mark Reffner explains the project with the help of photos and engineers drawings.

Committee member Mark Reffner then described the breach and the fact that the water flow is now etching a new channel away from the old dam. Reffner said that the community association and conservation committee partnered to look at the situation in January 2017 and that later in 2017, the engineering firm of Dubois and King did a scoping study to assess the quality of the upper dam and the options for the lower.

According to that study, the upper dam is “silted in” with a very shallow depth of water. The study also concluded that the lower dam cannot be repaired and should either be removed or replaced. Reffner said that the cost of replacing the dam would be enormous and that their recommendation is to remove the dam, restore the stream bed and install “steps” to control the speed of the water flow. The state of Vermont will require that trees and shrubs be planted for bank stabilization.

One page of the plans for the proposed project. Note that Lawrence Hill Rd. is at the top of the frame

With this design in hand, the committee bid the job and received six responses, ranging from $95,000 to $174,000. It is recommending the bid from Ameden Construction of Jamaica. Reffner said the company’s work is well-known in the area and includes jobs at the Trout Club and in Londonderry and Andover.

“They were one of the heroes in Jamaica after Irene,” said Reffner.

A sheet handed out at the presentation listed $95,000 for construction and $15,000 for engineering oversight and review with a total project cost of $110,000. The task force is asking voters to approve half of that, or $55,000. The remainder will be raised through grants and private donations.

Reffner said the Weston Community Association has paid for the engineering done to date.

The appropriation is Article No. 16 on the Town Meeting warning. Weston’s Town Meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 5 at the Weston Playhouse, 12 Park St.

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