A city committee is expected to continue discussion on the potential removal of the Fourth Street dam at its next meeting, at 8 a.m. Monday, July 20.
A conservationist from Linn County, Iowa, who is familiar with dam removal is also expected to be present at the meeting of the Whitewater Park Steering Committee, though that had not been confirmed as of Monday. Chuck Ungs is working on a dam modification project in Iowa, Dan Glynn, Stoughton parks and recreation director, told the Hub.
The committee is discussing two grants that are key to the proposed Whitewater Park, and one of them would provide $400,000 to remove the dam, which remains controversial. Some people who live upstream, in the Town of Pleasant Springs, are concerned about the effects on water levels, waterfowl and recreation use.
That grant is key to financing the project because it would provide matching funds toward a potential $1.6 million federal grant through the state Department of Transportation.
The entire whitewater project is expected to cost $2.2 million, and it could be completed as soon as 2022. It is part of a larger Riverfront Redevelopment initiative between South Fourth and South Seventh streets, and between East South Street and the Yahara River.
If the municipal dam grant is awarded, the city does not have to accept it, but it would not be able to take the funds without removing the dam. The Common Council will make the final decision to accept or deny the grant.
A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife specialist told the steering committee at its June 15 meeting it is unclear how wildlife might be affected by removing the Fourth Street Dam without knowing future water levels and quality.
City officials have said the dam removal is imperative for safety of the proposed whitewater park south of the dam, near Mandt Park, and studies the steering committee commissioned show little effect on the water surface level.