CORUNNA — The removal of the Corunna dam is officially underway, according to City Manager Joe Sawyer.

A number of spectators lined the banks of the Shiawassee River Thursday afternoon, as heavy equipment operators removed a section of the dam spillway in order to allow the current to flow through.

City council members approved a $1.2-million bid to remove the decrepit dam on July 1, awarding the project to M.J. VanDamme Inc., of Gwinn.

Work is expected to include removal of the dam, earthwork, and restoration of the Shiawassee River and banks adjacent to the dam, placement of wood structures for bank stabilization, installation of stone grade control structures in the river, and planting native vegetation to stabilize and enhance the shoreline.

The project is also expected to include a carry-down watercraft launch, fishing pier, boardwalk, viewing platform and what will be the first handicap-accessible canoe/kayak launch in Shiawassee County.

VanDamme is in the final stages of removing the Shiatown dam. Sawyer previously said the company expected to have that project completed by Labor Day, with an estimated completion date on the Corunna dam project still set for November.

“We’re keeping an open mind. We would love to see it done 100 percent this year, no question about it,” Sawyer said July 15. “It’s our sesquicentennial year, it would be kind of a neat way to end that 150 years of the city of Corunna to have the recreational elements all done too, I mean the dam is definitely coming out this year, but there is a reality that when it comes to timelines with the paving plans, asphalt, just scheduling and how busy contractors are, the recreational elements, some and or all of them may get pushed into the spring. We don’t want that, but we have to keep an open mind to it.”

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