UPDATE: Manchaug Pond Dam

 Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Voters OK purchase of Manchaug Dam for $1

SUTTON —  Voters at last night’s fall town meeting voted overwhelmingly to allow the Board of Selectmen to purchase Manchaug Dam on Torrey Road for $1.

The dam’s current owner, Hydro Projects North, which is a subsidiary of Interface Inc. of Atlanta, has also agreed to give the town $350,000 for the maintenance of the dam that controls the level of 380-acre Manchaug Pond.

Before the vote was taken by the approximately 200 people at the meeting, Manchaug Pond Association member Andrew Mosher commended the Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator James Smith for their efforts to negotiate the offer that was being considered last night. Mr. Mosher said purchasing the dam was a quality-of-life issue for the people living on the shores of the pond. Other people said the entire town would benefit from the purchase of the dam that was built in 1836.

While the Finance and Warrant Advisory Committee voted 4-1 to back the article, member Robert Recore said he was worried about the town’s liability if the dam was bought. He wondered how long the $350,000 would last and how much it would cost the town if a major incident occurred.

Voters at last night’s 70-minute meeting also voted to spend $32,700 to pay for work at town-owned Marion’s Camp and for an article that would prohibit solar power installations of over 250 kilowatts in residential areas.

— Bill Fortier

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Presented by Andrew Mosher, Treasurer
Thank you, my name is Andrew Mosher.  I live on Putnam Hill Rd and have been a resident of Sutton for approx. 40 years, have my business here, and care very much for this town. 

Tonight, I speak for the Manchaug Pond Association and its newly formed non-profit foundation, of which I serve as treasurer.  Our organization, 44 years old and 100 members strong, applauds the Board of Selectman in putting forth this article which preserves one of the town’s largest and important natural resources – Manchaug Pond.

The beauty and benefits of Manchaug Pond are immeasurable.  As a public lake, it offers 380 acres of year-round recreation to all through the public boat ramp, the 3 private campgrounds on its shores and the 4th at its’ inlet, and the non-profits of the YMCA Camp Blanchard and the living history museum, and conservation lands of Waters Farm. 

The economic contribution in property values of the homes and summer camps along the shoreline and the tourism dollars to area businesses from the over 500 campsites, filled April through November, is significant to say the least.

Environmentally, Manchaug Pond fisheries and the boarding ecosystem and watershed are part of a broader wildlife corridor and trail system which are all dependent on the lake and its waterlevel.

The dam is key to the preservation of Manchaug Pond and Torrey Road, to its vital work as a reservoir for flood control and maintaining a flow to the Mumford/Blackstone River system.  It greatly enhances the quality of life for those who come to this corner of Sutton.

The Manchaug Pond Association and Foundation fully supports article 8.  We recognize the dam owner’s contribution in providing the funds necessary for its future care.  We commend Town Administrator Jim Smith and the Board of Selectman for their foresight and hard work in bringing a workable solution to protecting Manchaug Pond for our community and generations to come.

Thank you.

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Sutton Annual Fall Town Meeting
Monday, October, 17, 2011

Warrant Article 8                  Sponsor:  Board of Selectman

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectman to acquire by gift, purchase, eminent domain or otherwise, for general municipal purposes, on such terms and conditions as the Selectmen deem appropriate, all or any portion of the lands and improvements thereon in Sutton and Douglas presently owned by the Manchaug Reservoir Corporation, which are believed to include the Manchaug Pond Dam (National Dam ID No. MA 00955), as well as lands bordering on, flowed by or beneath the high water mark of Manchaug Pond, and to authorize the Board of Selecmen to enter into all agreements and to execute on behalf of the Town andy and all instruments as may be necessary or convenient to effectuate this acquisition, and further to authorize the Board of Selectmen to seek such authorization and approval of the General Court as is necessary to allow for such acquisition: or take any action relative thereto.

Finance and Warrant Advisory Committee voted 4-1 to recommend passage of this article.  this article allows the town to take possession of a dam along with receipt of a $350,000 grant for maintenance and upkeep.  The town plans to install hydroelectric capacity on the dam to provide continuing revenue streams. The dissenting vote reflects concerns over costs and liabilities of owning and operating the dam as well as the limited usefulness of the dam to the majority of citizens.

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THANK YOU! to each and every voter
who took the time to come out to Town Meeting 
to stand solidly and vote clearly in support
of preserving our beautiful Manchaug Pond!