Cass River Dam Project set for fall construction
For the past dozen years, the City of Frankenmuth has been in the planning stages of rebuilding or renovating the Cass River Dam.
Despite close calls the past two years, it looks like the year 2014 will the completion of the Cass River Fish Passage Project.
Work is tentative slated to begin on the approximate $3 million project this fall, with the intense dam work to take about six weeks, sometime after Labor Day.
Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority Director Sheila Stamiris, who has been here the past 11 years, said headway is being made among all the organizations involved, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
It looked like the fish passage would be built in fall 2013, however, concerns with levy along Gunzenhausen Street and the flood plain pushed back the work until this year. The levy will be renovated in 2016.
The Frankenmuth Noon Rotary Club pledged $15,000 per year from its “Great Taste of Frankenmuth” project toward the dam cost. This is the third and final year of the pledge, meaning $45,000 will be a part of the city’s $1 million commitment. The Corps of Engineers is paying the remaining $2 million.
Prep work will likely begin in late August and clean up will take place in late fall.
“The Corps has an aggressive time table, with the project to be out of bid in July,” Stamiris said. “The actual dam work will take about six weeks.”
The city is conscious of lowering the water depth above the dam before Labor Day, to ensure the Bavarian Belle and Frankenmuth FunShips can continue their late summer operations.
The first part of the project calls for 12-18 inches from the top of the dam to be removed and replaced with stone. The dam will remain in place, with an approximate 300-foot rock ramp built downstream. The goal is increase fish spawning above the dam as well as making the area more beautiful, as the water flows through the rock. The height of the dam will also stay as is.
The construction contractor will purchase the necessary stone for the project.
Stamiris said the city has the money raised for the project, however, costs may escalate as work is completed.
“The river is a valued part of the community, wrapping around our beautiful parks. The project fits into where the community is going in terms of tourism. There will be great opportunities for family fishing and other recreation,” Stamiris said.