The Village of Marshall has started discussions over whether to take ownership of the Maunesha dam located on Hubbell Street.
After operating the dam for almost 100 years, the Blaschka family has expressed a desire to transfer the dam to Marshall’s possession, a transaction that would only cost the village $1. The dam, which helped to create Marshall’s millpond, is located next to the Blaschka Mill, 132 Hubbell St.
Planning commission member Bill Blaschka spoke with the village board Sept. 8 about whether the village could assist with funding an inspection and repairs of the dam, along with taking ownership.
“We used to use (the dam) for water power — we haven’t done that for the last seven or eight years,” Blaschka said. “(The dam) does help the village out as far as the assessments on property values all the way along there in the parks, so it’s something that I don’t think the village wants to lose. What could happen is if it got in too bad of disrepair, the DNR could make you take it out. Right now it is actually in pretty good shape, (but) it does need some repairs.”
Built in 1922, the dam suffered significant wear during the 2008 floods, after which the village agreed to pay for a $28,000 emergency management plan. Blaschka said the dam is now due for another inspection and he is looking at engineering firms for taking on the project.
Blachka also noted the family wishes to keep the water rights of the dam in the event of transferring ownership, which drew initial skepticism from the village board.
“Is there a possibility of sharing those water rights because of future projects the village board might take into consideration, like doing the dredging again, revamping our water ecosystem?” asked Village Trustee Andrea Andrews.
Blaschka reassured Andrews that retaining water rights would only withhold the privilege of using the dam for powering turbines, while the village would have the authority to undertake other activities such as draining and dredging.
The village board agreed to hold off on action until they can see the results of an inspection, with Village President John Schuepbach noting the board will have the opportunity to create a line item for dam expenses before the approval of next year’s municipal budget.
“The village as a whole, we don’t want to see (the dam) disappear, so logically it comes to us (to take care of it),” Schuepbach said.
The board also:
• Approved paying the salary of school crossing guards from Oct. 19, when school buildings are anticipated to open for in-person instruction, to the end of the semester.
• Approved a permit application for The Ride, a bicycle benefit supporting UW cancer research.