A petition against the Department of Natural Resources’ decision to allow removal of the Monterey Dam could delay the project’s timeline, officials said during a Janesville City Council meeting Monday.
The city planned to begin accepting bids to remove the dam and restore the affected shoreline by Jan. 26. The project is expected to cost $1.1 million.
Members of the Monterey Dam Association petitioned against the DNR’s October approval of the city’s dam abandonment permit and removal plans. Depending on the DNR’s response to the petition, the city might have to put off accepting bids, said Paul Woodard, public works director, and Tim Whittaker, senior engineer.
“The schedule is in flux pending the DNR’s process,” Whittaker said.
One of the city’s prerequisites for demolishing the dam was obtaining a dam abandonment permit from the state. That permit was granted Oct. 31, Woodard and Whittaker said.
On Nov. 30, the DNR received the petition from the Monterey Dam Association, a group of residents opposed to the dam’s removal, they said.
“The petition indicates that the DNR’s process was not adequate,” Whittaker said.
“That’s their statement, not ours,” Woodard clarified.
The DNR has until Dec. 20 to respond to the petition. City officials still have Jan. 26 tentatively scheduled as the date by which they’ll start taking bids on the project. The dam is expected to be out by September.
Woodard and Whittaker shared with the council updated shoreline restoration plans. They differ from early concept plans in two ways.
A wetland area would be created just downstream of the Monterey Dam. It would include a lawn, picnic area and pond that would be a spawning area for pike, Whittaker said.
The other change is a boat launch would be relocated downstream instead of upstream of the Jackson Street bridge, he said.
The city has already obtained a $146,000 DNR stewardship grant. It will apply for a DNR municipal dam grant that could be worth up to $400,000 by April 30.
By March 15, the city also will apply for a DNR municipal flood control grant. It could be worth up to $420,000, but how much Janesville might receive is to be determined, Woodard said.
Officials originally said grants would reduce the $1.1 million cost to $700,000, making it comparable in cost to dam repair.
Several Monterey Dam Association members showed up at the meeting. Two spoke, including Jeff Navarro, who’s running for city council.
Navarro expressed concern with contaminated sediment found near the dam and the $1.1 million project cost estimate. He asked if it will cost more and said residents have a right to know.
“That extra money is not just going to come out of your pockets,” he said. “It’s going to come out of everyone’s pockets.”
Councilman Tom Wolfe asked what would happen if bids came back higher than $1.1 million. City Manager Mark Freitag said the council could choose not to accept a bid higher than that amount and go to bid again.