Great? Dam update

drawdown nov 11 2009 (2)

drawdown nov 11 2009

First off an explanation about all these photos of sunsets on the Crier.

I have been busy. I also was considering just closing the Crier down as I am no longer a taxpayer.

Well, I mean no longer a  homeowner, but  neither is Nancy Belanger and it was true of Dan Chartrand for a while too. So until October passes, the blog will continue. Then we are off to Newburyport and new adventures.

I got most of my answers today on the Great ? Dam removal project from Paul Vlasich of DPW.

I had seen the article in the ENL two weeks ago which quoted the new owner of the Loaf & Ladle.

He stated that he would not have a tenant  till the dam was removed and this really troubled me.  I had heard nothing at all about the dam (with one ear to the ground) in months, longer perhaps. It seemed to me there might be some neglect in place by government. Those in favor of river restoration and dam removal did face opposition.  Dan Chartrand and Julie Gilman were not huge supporters and they are still at the Selectmen’s table.

So here is the new Loaf guy  who poured a bundle into that dump and he  might as I did,  have assumed it was coming down this year. Here we are all about economic development and we are not making phone calls to move things along.

“Voters also passed Art. 8 by a vote of 1,440 yes to 753 no. The petitioned warrant article sought $1,786,758 to remove the Great Dam in downtown Exeter in an effort to restore the Exeter River to its natural condition, reduce flooding, and stop environmental damage. The proposal, which needed at least a 60 percent majority vote to pass, received about 65 percent of the vote.”

March 2014 we voted , after a very long ( too long) study which employed all sorts of professionals .

The final package from the Town was submitted just this April for wetlands permits so we might not get any action this year on removal. This is most disappointing to me as I am a impatient fellow, it seems like foot dragging. Which Mr Vlasich stated is not true.


I was also disappointed that the history buffs were successful in preserving the penstock. The concrete structure with the long  frozen mechanisms on the Founders Park bank.

On that penstock. Did you know the Exeter Mill has decided to purchase water now ? Do you remember all the the nonsense and “concerns” about that stupid pipe to the Mill? All the legal mumbo jumbo about old parchment.

I asked Paul when that went away , he said “about a month ago”.

I saw no report, heard no mention by the BOS,.

Again, I have had my head down since February caring for my Aunt and then ramping up for our Open House weekend.One intense focus swinging immediately to another.

There is a slight chance we could get started on removing the Great? Dam this Fall, but you  better figure on next year. The package is now in the hands of the Wetlands Bureau, maybe the dreaded Army Corp of Engineers. I would be calling them once a week for updates, but that probably is not being done.

The Governor lived  in Exeter, Hillary visited a little  bookstore, but we can’t  get anyone to make a phone  call?

There should be a great deal more excitement  about dam removal and a kiosk at the site extolling the Town’s effort on river restoration.

I had hoped to see it breached prior to leaving Town. I think that indeed could have occurred with more focus by government.

I will see you all in the Fall of 2016.

Update 7/2/15   I just got a call from Don Clement regarding the Mill and the  penstock.

This is the skinny.

We had allocated over 500K in the 1.7 million bond to continue, take care of the water being drawn from the river by the Mill for their HVAC system. This water also may have been used in the sprinkler system, I am not sure.

So now I am told we sat down with the new owner of the Mill The Chinburg Group and negotiated a new deal.

The Town will pay for a new HVAC system for the original Mill building at a price under 500K and the Mill will go on Town water. A few weeks ago or so the Town formally put to bed the old agreement regarding the free water from the penstock. The Mill as an entity gave the decrepit Great ? Dam to the Town many years ago, but retained that penstock free water deal.

So we have ended the handshake with a big bear hug.


Hey , one aside before the weekend.

I watched the  Planning Board for 3 minutes the other day. Gwen was speaking about trails and parking on Epping Rd. This long time member should know that parking is indeed allowed on the shoulder of Epping Rd.

I checked with Chief Kane once  within the last 2 years regarding a tow truck using the shoulder for all day parking.

A tow truck.  On a curve, near a  busy pizza place and a busy moving and storage company.

Chief Kane told me  parking is allowed on Epping Rd.


There is  a very good chance that the Town of Exeter could, by completing some paperwork for a grant be eligible for upwards of a million dollars.

To remove the Great? Dam.

This was announced at Mondays Board of Selectmen Meeting

The one marred by high theater.

The NOAA representative said that this grant is here, now, and could be plucked.  I believe it will take a decisive and nimble Community that signals the BOS it’s  desire to move forward . We should lobby to have this placed on the March ballot and have a task force formed to get the grant documents in on time to the Federal Agency.

We have 13 years of data.

The BOS quite frankly needs  to be told to get this done, by the entire Community and fast.

That dam is coming down  sometime and there is no better time than right now.

Don’t kick the can down the road, be a hero, a legend in your own time!

There have not been any dam removals to date that have not resulted in benefits to those Communities removing these relics. They  are unsafe  and very expensive to repair , promote upstream flooding, block fish, ruin habitats.

How can anyone say “Oh but our dam is special, we have special circumstances”

This is all been heard before in every other community by naysayers.

I have gone back and checked news stories of dam removals across the Country and those same naysayers 5 years later are chagrined to say the least and embarrassed by their behavior at the time.

Please contact the BOS and help them with a “please move forward ” phone call or email.

They are becalmed perhaps even without a rudder and your input is key.

Key to a million.