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Board OKs funds for study of Norway Lake Dam in Pine River

Pine River Mayor Jim Sabas successfully appealed to the Cass County Board on Oct. 15 for $10,000 toward a feasibility study to determine whether the Norway Lake Dam can be replaced or repaired. The city has engaged its city engineering firm, Bolton and Menk Inc., to do the feasibility study and to identify possible funding sources for the work, Sabas said. The study is expected to cost $25,000 or more.

Bolton and Menk plans to have draft options ready for public review by early 2014, with possible funding sources identified by May 2014. It is possible that preliminary design, environmental review and final design phases could be completed in 2014 and 2015, with possible construction by 2016 and 2017, Sabas indicated in a recent letter to Cass County Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson.

In addition to the deteriorating condition of the dam, another reason to address the issue at this time is that Minnesota Department of Transportation has programmed removing/relocating the Highway 84 bridge from its current location on top of the dam.

Minnesota DNR has identified the dam as a high hazard dam on its statewide list. The DNR has informed the city of Pine River that agency might contribute $150,000 toward construction if a fish migration facility is incorporated in the new design, Sabas said.

Cost to rehabilitate or reconstruct the dam could be $1 million or more, he said, adding the city expects at this time to ask the county to contribute another $50,000 in 2016 or 2017 to help pay for construction.

The $10,000 the board approved Oct. 15 will come from the county’s Fund 73, a fund set aside from revenue the county received several years ago from selling former state leased lots. The state allows the county to spend interest earned on that money, but not the principle. The land department manages the fund.