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Lake Fairlee Dam Rebuild Starts In June, With Tri-Town Support

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Delsie Hoyt
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This privately owned dam at Lake Fairlee is in need of replacement. Construction of a new publicly built dam will start in June.

Construction is expected to start next month on a new dam at Lake Fairlee. Earlier this month voters in Fairlee, West Fairlee and Thetford all voted in favor of an $850,000 bond to rebuild the dam.

The existing dam is privately owned, but the owner can't afford the necessary repairs. Because a failed dam would have a dramatically negative effect on property values, the three towns surrounding the lake decided to put a bond question to the voters. The vote was held on May 19 and the bond question passed overwhelmingly in all three towns.

The Lake Fairlee Association posted the following on its blog last week:

The measures were supported by 76% of the voters in Fairlee, by 78% in Thetford, and by 85% in West Fairlee. This result is most gratifying to those of us who have devoted many hours over the past three years learning what could be done for the dam and developing a plan to bring it about. It also represents a welcome level of cooperation among the three towns that we hope can be replicated in other areas.

With a new dam to be built with public funds, the association said a tri-town governance structure will be put in place:

In the near future each town will select delegates to the new Tri-Town Commission which will take over responsibility for the dam in the future. We will keep you advised of our progress.

In the meantime, the association says the dam work will not affect recreational uses of the lake this summer. Construction is slated to start in mid-June.

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