Walton’s Mill dam removal, park improvements outlined in Farmington

FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday evening were told design plans for improvements to Walton’s Mill Park Plan should be nearly complete in about two weeks, with a final plan ready in October.

“We’re moving along in our design phase, we’re at 75% of the design,” Maranda Nemeth, project manager for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, said.

Voters approved the $1.2 million Walton’s Mill Dam project in November 2018, a year after a fish passage study was approved. The project will remove the dam so endangered Atlantic salmon can travel up Temple Stream to spawn.

Dam removal and park improvements will be done in three phases with construction starting in 2021, Nemeth said.

“We’ll use the existing sluice gate, after ice out in the spring,” she said. “Opening the gate will result in a more gradual drawdown. It usually rains a lot in the spring. It could take up to 45 days. There’ll be a 3- to 6-foot drop over that time period.”

“Around July 15 we’ll enter the water and create an access road in the stream as part of phase two,” Nemeth said. “It will take 4 to 6 weeks to complete removal of the dam. The landscaper will stockpile as we go. He wants to reuse boulders, etc.”

Other phase two work includes demolition of the dam and related structures and reinforcement of the overlook, she said.

“A cofferdam will isolate the work area,” Nemeth said. “By Sept. 30 work will be completed, we’ll be out of the water. Once we complete the in-stream work, then we’ll move upland.”

Nemeth also gave details on proposed park improvements, including raising the entry into the park, installing granite stairs and adding a bathroom and pavilion.

The design plans should be 90% complete in about two weeks with a final plan ready in October and the project put out to bid in November, she said. The plans will be taken up by the Planning Board in October, she added.

“We’re on track to select a contractor by January,” Nemeth said.

Selectman Joshua Bell asked if plans will change if fundraising falls short.

“This is a whole package, we’ll postpone if need be,” Nemeth said.


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