Head over to Swan Pond Park in Riverside where Fairbank Dam used to be and have a look. Of course, part of the area still looks like a work zone, what with the fencing and the backhoe sitting there and the construction trailer and the gravel access path and the big pile of concrete that once was a dam.
But look at the river. It looks right.
It’s at once jarring and oddly satisfying to look out over the Des Plaines River where the Fairbank Dam used to be and just see the water rushing by, sans dam. Ducks float by swiftly across the surface, unimpeded on their journey.
It took just days to restore the river to its rightful state. Sure it was kind of ugly while the demolition happened – a giant sledgehammer blasting away at the concrete, followed by a backhoe noisily scraping the shattered remains from the river bed.
But go look at it now. In a way, it’s tough to imagine there was a dam there at all and tougher to imagine what possible use that mini-dam served while it was there. Now, it’s just the river, the rush of water.
Looking forward, here, to phase two.