Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 13, 2013

Don’t remove the dam just to make a few people happy

According to the article in the Cumberland Times-News of Nov. 3, in response to Delegate Kevin Kelly’s request for determining the ownership of the Cumberland Ridgeley Dam, a team has been assembled to determine the dam ownership. (“Attorney general assembles team to research ownership of Blue Bridge Dam,” Page 1A)

The team should certainly take a long look at the remarks made at the bridge dedication in 1955 by then Maryland Gov. McKeldin.

His remarks included this comment, “This handsome two-span arch structure was built on the top of the industrial dam, a flood control project of the city of Cumberland in cooperation with the United States Corps of Engineers. I think great credit is due to the engineers who designed such a structure which, because it was built on a dam instead of its own foundations, resulted in a very substantial savings to the taxpayers and completion much sooner than otherwise.”

Two very important points were made by the governor in his remarks.

First point, he would have had no reason to point out that the bridge was built on top the dam and not separate from the dam, had that not been the information he received from the builders. It was deemed so important that it was made a central part of his remarks.

We were assured at the public meeting on June 6 by Serena McClain of American Rivers that the bridge and dam were built separate and removal of the dam would not be a problem (“River project prospects,” June 7 Times-News, Page 1A).

Someone is badly misinformed. Removal of the dam might well damage the integrity of the bridge.

Second point, the industrial dam was built as part of the flood control project of the city of Cumberland with the United States Corps of Engineers.

The levee system surrounding Ridgeley and Cumberland, I believe is owned and controlled by the Corps of Engineers and maintained by the city of Cumberland.

If so then it would be logical that the dam would be owned by the Corps of Engineers and maintained by the city of Cumberland.

This dam ownership issue would be moot if the decision is made not to remove the dam, and take advantage of the water-way above the dam.

Any logical thinking person realizes that in the current financial climate, there is no money to fund a project involving millions of dollars to remove a dam that would be done to satisfy only a few with an agenda.

There is no local demand to remove the dam nor has anyone given a good logical reason to do so. The dam removal would result in ruining the boating potential of our waterfront and result in knee-deep water flowing through our communities.

Gary Clites

Carpendale, W.Va.

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