The air of inevitability surrounding the removal of the Hofmann Dam has lain heavy over those of us who harbor some reservations. The politicians see it as a feather in their cap, a chance to recast themselves in the eyes of the voting public.
The newspapers, ever green, mired in their own liberal pathos, are unquestioning in their support. They refuse to acknowledge potential drawbacks. And yet there are drawbacks.
Two of Riverside’s most vigilant observers, Donald Spatny and Richard Ray, have repeatedly and eloquently requested that the village board address these concerns with the Army Corps of Engineers. Their pleas fall on deaf ears. It seems the siren call of the River Rats has stripped the board of its senses.
Mind you, I have a vested interest in this issue. My property on Maplewood Road backs up to the river. When the idea first came up 10 years ago, I was intrigued. A naturally flowing river which would more readily cleanse itself of sediments and allow for the migration of fish was appealing.
My immediate concern, however, was what would happen to the depth of the river and in particular, what would happen to the river bank directly behind my home. I attended several meetings and was shown a cross section, which depicted the river’s depth to decrease by about six inches on average by the time it reached my house.
Unfortunately, there were no overhead views showing the effect on the width of the river. Further research turned up the fact the current dam had been rebuilt in 1950, at no small expense. The reason was to mitigate swampy areas immediately above the dam and mask the ensuing smell at low water.
Recession followed and the project seemed left in limbo, unfunded and unlikely to be funded. I was left ambivalent, feeling we needed to know more, not convinced for or against. When two months ago I found out the project was funded and scheduled to begin this winter, it came as a shock.
Remember, once the dam is removed, you will never get it back; if it proves detrimental to the town there is no recourse. I might add that dismissive remarks made to Misters Spatny and Ray by some of the trustees will linger long in the minds of those who take a more measured approach. Sin in haste; repent at leisure. Let’s do the right thing, let’s ask all the questions, let’s run the test using the bypass.
William H. Anderson