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State grant will help pay for repairs to crumbling Lake Warner Dam

By CAITLIN ASHWORTH

Staff Writer

HADLEY — A long-awaited $215,000 state grant will help pay for repairs and improve structural conditions at the Lake Warner Dam.

The dam is classified by the state as a “significant” hazard that must be brought into compliance with state dam safety regulations. The structure has serious signs of deterioration including crumbling concrete, inoperable outlet gates and sections of unstable walls and leakage.

The money from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will be combined with $100,000 in Community Preservation Act funds and other monies raised through community fundraisers organized by nonprofits Kestrel Land Trust and Friends of Lake Warner.

“The Lake Warner Dam is a celebrated focal point of our local landscape in Hadley and its vibrancy and character are cherished by residents and visitors alike,” said Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, who announced the grant in a Wednesday press release.

For over 350 years, the dam has been part of North Hadley’s historic village center. The current dam was built in 1919 and was declared structurally deficient in 2012. Repairs are estimated at about $350,000. The project faced a setback in 2014 when $125,000 in funding was eliminated from the state budget.

Friends of Lake Warner, which will assume ownership of the dam from Kestrel when repairs are complete, has raised $75,000 for the project. Kestrel, meanwhile has spent and pledged another $75,000 for the project as of 2015.

“We are grateful for the local, town and state support that came together for this critical community conservation project,” executive director of Kestrel Land Trust Kristin DeBoer said in a press release. “Now we have the opportunity to restore the historic dam to maintain Lake Warner for the benefit of the community.”

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.

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