Dam removal to begin June 1

Mille Lacs County Times

If all goes according to the latest plan, work will begin about June 1 on removal of the dam at Rec Park, as well as installation of a new pedestrian bridge in the park.

The two projects will be done at the same time, with the Minnesota DNR footing the bill for the dam removal and a state grant of $130,000 expected to fund installation of a new bridge.

The city will be liable for costs above the grant from the state but City Manager Greg Lerud expects the $130,000 to be about the right amount to fund the bridge project.

The City Council passed a resolution at its Feb. 16 meeting that it has determined the dam removal project will not have the potential for significant environmental effects, thus an Environmental Assessment Worksheet is not required.

The replacement bridge, purchased from a Minnesota company after it was built for another project but not used, was transported to Milaca in December and is being stored at the park.

Mayor Pete Pedersen brought up the location of the new bridge at last week’s council meeting. He said he would like to see it in the same location as the present bridge, rather than just to the north.

Pedersen suggested contacting the board of Forest Hill Cemetery, located adjacent to the bridge site.

Lerud said in an interview Monday that the site is still open for discussion. Moving the dam about 40 feet to the north, as has been planned, would leave untouched some landscaping (trees, etc.) done on the west side of the river, he said.

The project schedule calls for approving construction plans in April and awarding bids in May before starting construction at the beginning of June.