Discussions on Future of Little River Dam Continue Next Wednesday with Review of Designs

Little River dam and falls at Winter Street in Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

The next step in determining the future of Little River dam, off Winter Street in Haverhill, takes place next Wednesday.

Review of the dam as a “climate-related hazard” began last year with a $70,600 state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant, but city officials have also called the structure, originally built in the early 1800s to provide power to a local flannel mill, a possible impediment to redevelopment of the former Stevens Mill site.

Project leaders are expected to show possible designs of the area if the dam is removed and answer questions raised in previous forums. The “Project Vision and Design” presentation takes place online Wednesday, June 2, 6 p.m., in English, and 7 p.m. in Spanish.

Other potential benefits of the dam’s removal, according to officials, are reduced flooding risk in an environmental justice neighborhood, potential addition of a river access point and public green space, increased tree cover in the downtown area and environmental benefits associated with removal of a barrier to fish passage.

A March forum hosted by the City of Haverhill and environmental engineering firm Fuss and O’Neill, weighed potential benefits against concerns. Julie Busa, project manager for the study, noted reduced flooding risk, but also possible undesirable impacts of sediment moving downstream. Patricia Findlay Hamilton, questioned the validity of the possibility of flooding, saying her family has owned land on Little River for more than a century and has not experienced flooding.

The link for the meeting is here. Alternatively, those interested may call 1-724-780-5096 and use Pin: 565 700 252#.

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