CONTACT: Patty Gambarini, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (413) 781-6045
Jim Fox, President, Belchertown Land Trust (413) 323-4741
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2010
Third Public Meeting on Upper Bondsville Dam to Focus on Consultant’s Findings
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Belchertown Land Trust invite the public to attend a meeting on Thursday, September 30, 7:00 p.m. at the Belchertown High School cafeteria to learn about the findings from consultant Milone & MacBroom’s study at the Upper Bondsville Dam. The study examines issues of sediment, extent of the dam’s influence on the Swift River, and estimated costs for repair versus removal of the dam. Following their presentation, the consultant will take questions from the public that are specific to their findings.
The Upper Bondsville Dam is owned by the Belchertown Land Trust (BLT). The dam is located across the Swift River between Palmer and Belchertown and creates a lake-like impoundment that stretches north into Ware. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Office of Dam Safety has rated the dam as a significant hazard and has issued an order to the BLT to take corrective action that will bring the dam into compliance with current safety standards.
In the past year, board members of the BLT have been exploring their options at the dam. The Milone & MacBroom study is part of this exploration. President Jim Fox notes, “Part of what this latest study indicates is that while repair and removal costs will be more or less the same, they are beyond what we can afford as a small nonprofit. So our decision about the future of the dam will most likely be based on whether we can find someone to take ownership and finance the repairs to get the dam into compliance.”
This public meeting and the research by Milone & MacBroom are made possible by a grant to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. For a copy of the consultant’s report, see http://www.belchertownlandtrust.org/.