The Argus-Press

SHIAWASSEE TWP. — A boat/kayak launch at Shiatown East Park is now open, according to the Friends of the Shiawassee River, following the successful removal of the remnants of the Shiatown dam and riverbank restoration.

Water enthusiasts may access the launch and traverse the river without portaging, but barriers at the park itself will remain in place for approximately two weeks, according to M.J. VanDamme Project Manager Nick Doney.

“We’re basically just giving the grass seed time to get established, on all of the banks that we just did,” Doney said. “We want to let that seed come up and really take, that way all of the area is covered. Once everything comes up, then we’ll be able to completely open up that part of the site.”

The dam, dating to about 1840, had once generated electricity, but in recent decades sat deteriorating and unused, leading to dangerous conditions that cost numerous people their lives. Partial removal of the Shiatown dam took place in the fall of 2012, lowering the concrete structure to within 4 feet of the river bed elevation.

M.J. VanDamme Inc., of Gwinn, completed the removal after being awarded the project in May. The company also agreed to remove the Corunna dam, with construction on that project beginning about Labor Day, according to Corunna City Manager Joe Sawyer.

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