7 Years in the Making- DAM ISSUE RESOLVED!

The Town of Sutton, in a unanimous vote of the Sutton Board of Selectman, signed an agreement largely negotiated by the Manchaug Pond Foundation, to acquire ownership of Manchaug Pond and its dam for $1.00 and receive $350,000 from owner Interface Fabrics for future dam needs.  This brings the 7 year issue to a successful close preserving the 380 acre lake for this and future generations.


by Russel Spain, MPF Board Member

Last night’s signing was attend by MPA/MPF President David Schmidt, Treasurer Andrew Mosher and Corresponding Secretary Phyllis Charpentier representing the 22 member Board of Directors and the membership at-large of the 100-member organizations.  The three formed the MPF contingent who had met numerous times in the last 2 years with Interface representatives from Georgia, Maine and Boston to identify a workable solution for the company who looked to divest of their remaining Massachusetts assets.  Prior options explored by the lake association include the researching of a watershed district, and successful formation of the now formed 501 c3 non profit Manchaug Pond Foundation (MPF).

MPA and MPF appointed a Fundraising Committee, under the leadership of George Cammuso and Karen Bronson, to raise the monies needed to work this issue over these near 7 years: maintaining our waterlevel, researching the district, forming the non-profit, and in the last two years funding the legal team key to mediating negotiations.  Thanks to our members, friends, and the community at large for participating in our social fundraising events, big boat raffles,  road races, etc to make this effort possible.
Interface Fabrics’ action in releasing the dam with a strong maintenance fund is commendable as it ensures the preservation of this 380 acre Great Pond of the Commonwealth.  Guilford/Interface dam caretaker Don Rudge and his predecessor Fuddy Colonero are greatly thanked for their 24/7 watch of the dam and waterlevel over these many years.
Read for yourself in today’s Worcester Telegram article of the Selectman’s meeting: 

August 8, 2012
Selectmen wrapped up contentious negotiations that stretched back nearly a decade with Guilford of Maine’s Interface Fabrics Inc. by voting last night to buy Manchaug Dam and pond from Interface Fabric’s Manchaug Reservoir Corp. for $1. 

The town will also receive $350,000 from Interface Fabrics for long-term maintenance of the dam.  The funds will be placed in an escrow account.

Town Administrator James A. Smith said he planned to invest the $350,000 to grow it, he hoped, to $500,000 to protect the town from costs of significant repairs.   Biennial dam inspections and routine maintenance will be paid for out of the town’s operating budget.

Interface Fabric representatives had petitioned the state to breach the dam when the company left the area about eight years ago.  The dam forms the 380-acre Manchaug Pond a the headwaters of the Mumbord River, a polpular recreational spot with campers and a state boat ramp.

Mr. Smith said town officials are exploring developing hydropower at the dam.

Selectman Michael Chizy, board chairman, prasied Mr. Smith, his staff and the Conservation Commission.  He said, “It was a tough seven years.  We were threatened by the dam owners -they’d break up the dam… He (Mr. Smith) stood up to these people and called their bluff.”

Phyllis Charpentier, secretary of the Manchaug Pond Foundation, thanked the board and town officials for “sharing our vision” of the pond’s natural beauty, its wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

– Susan Spencer

Manchaug Pond dam