Demolition begins on 19th century dam in Leeds

Hampshire County

After years of planning and permit process, a 19th-century dam in Leeds is finally being removed.

Crews used equipment to begin dismantling the Upper Roberts Meadow Dam in Leeds on Wednesday morning.

Northampton DPW director Donna LaScaleia told 22News that the project hit several roadblocks but the city was finally able to secure permits for demolition.

The Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety determined the dam was structurally dangerous and the city was given two options: repair it or remove it. Multiple studies determined the dam would be removed.

Some residents are concerned for local wildlife that depended on the dam.

“It has been determined the benefits of removing this dam there will be significant environmental benefits, including the restoration of cold water fisheries where the impoundment currently is,” Donna LaScaleia explained.

The project is estimated to cost $850,000. But more than $600,000 in state grants will cover the majority of the cost. The remaining $200,000 will come from the city’s water enterprise fund.

Wednesday was one of several steps to demolish the dam. An excavator removed a small piece to release water. A neighbor told 22News, it took 30 minutes to drain the dam.

The second stage will begin next week. The rest of the dam is expected to be removed by the end of the year.

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