By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The East Troy Village Board Nov. 6 asked the village engineer to come back with a “shopping list” of options they can choose from in its consideration of whether or not to remove the East Troy Dam over Honey Creek.

Trustee Matt Johnson said he wanted the board to have information on what is the best way to do each option and not just the “bare minimum” which has been presented to the board up to this point.

“We haven’t really talked about anything other than bare removal or restoration,” Trustee John Alexander agreed. “Right now we don’t have a ‘shopping list.’”

The board also directed staff to request an extension from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources so they can look at bringing the question of removing or keeping the dam to referendum in April. The DNR deadline for either removal or repair is March 1, 2018.

Department of Public Works Director Jason Equitz and Lynch and Associates engineer Sarah Nunn told the board the DNR was willing to consider an extension if the board had a plan on how to move forward and was taking steps to make that happen.

Residents on both side of the issue spoke during citizen participation at the meeting, some concerned about the loss of an asset to the village if East Troy Lake was no more. Others wanted the board members to carefully consider what they were doing and make the right decision for now and the future.

“I agree 100 percent that a good decision has to be made for the future,” East Troy Lake Association President Steve Rostkowski said. “We’re the seventh generation with a lake in East Troy and we need to think about the next generation.”

Nunn presented the dam removal study at the board meeting with a projected cost of about $324,000. The projected cost to keep the dam is about $712,000. But both of these figures are the “bare bones” figures and Johnson said he wanted to do it “right” regardless of which option the village chose and wanted to know the cost of partial or full dredging if the dam was kept in place and how much it would cost to reclaim land for the homeowners on the lake if the dam was removed, among other things.

Trustee Alex Alger asked, should the dam be removed, how long before the village could possibly use the new land for other purposes, such as a park.

Nunn said it would be “multiple years” but there were some ways to speed up the dewatering process that could help.

The board members agreed they needed more information on the options before any decision could be made, including what the questions would be on a referendum, should they choose to have one in April.

Trustee John J. Jacoby asked about the risk to the bridge over Highway G/120, which Walworth County is planning on replacing in 2018, if the dam was removed.

“I asked that very same question and the county said the bridge is being designed and built whether the dam is there or not,” Equitz said.

Trustee Forty Renucci brought up the issue of property values for the homes on the lake and reminded the board that had to be taken into consideration. He also brought up the DNR’s propensity to suddenly change regulations and laws and how it can and has thrown more than one monkey wrench into projects such as these. He asked Nunn if there was anyway to know if that was in the village’s future. She told him there was no way to know what would happen down the road.


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