Ready for Rapids in Cuyahoga Falls? Dam Removal Decision Coming Tonight
The City Council will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium for its regular meeting and will decide whether or not to approve the widely touted dam removal project.
Ready for white water rapids?
Last Monday, the Public and Industrial Improvements Committee -- chaired by ward 7 councilman Jerry James -- unanimously approved a motion to finalize plans for the deconstruction of the Sheraton and LeFever Dams.
The last step will come tonight when Cuyahga Falls City Council members vote on whether or not to approve the dam removal ordinance.
The plan will cost $1 million (paid for by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District), potentially create category four or five white water rapids in sections of the Cuyahoga River and restore aquatic ecosystems that have long been impaired and deoxygenated by the dams, said Valerie Wax Carr, the Cuyahoga Falls Director of Public Service last week.
Deconstruction is set for June with a completion date of mid to late July, which means the river should be ready for August’s bicentennial celebration, said city engineer Tony Demasi.
The city has put a team of demolition crews, consultants and engineers together, known as River Works, to handle the project, Carr said.
RiverReach Construction, based out of Norton, will handle the demolition; Akron’s GPD Group will take on the project’s design; an archaeologist will be on site to collect and preserve any artifacts that are discovered; and EnviroScience, located in Stow, will consult with the Ohio EPA to focus on the long-term project of heightening water quality and restoring fish populations in the river.
“We’re going to restore the river’s ability to heal itself,” said Bill Zawiski, a representative from the Ohio EPA who spoke at Monday’s meeting.
Zawiski believes the flooding problems around the LeFever Dam and Water Works Park should decrease as water will be able to move faster and more freely.
Some residents of the River Estates development spoke up last Monday to voice concern over how much the water level will decrease when the LeFever Dam is removed.
Demasi said the width of the river could shrink, and that the water level could dip by roughly two feet.
What do you think of the new plan? Should city council give it the green light?