SAVE CURTIS POND:
BY SAVING THE DAM!
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If we don’t act now, we could lose Curtis Pond FOREVER! We must come together and ensure the pond remains a valuable asset to this town for generations to come!
The Curtis Pond Association and Calais Selectboard have been diligently laying the groundwork for this current project for almost two years. Through this process, we have developed Important relationships with state and local agencies, contractors, engineers, and key community members. We have built on two decades worth of similar community efforts to save Curtis Pond.
We truly believe we have found the right path forward and we can make this dream come true.
The 120-year-old Curtis Pond Dam is rated a “Significant Hazard” by Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). Experts agree, one “Irene” style storm could be the end of our beloved pond. Vermont policy prioritizes wetlands over man-made ponds. While the State will issue a permit to repair the dam before it fails, they are unlikely to allow replacement after failure.
A 2022 report issued by Doug Hoffer, the Vermont State Auditor, highlights Curtis Pond as one of a handful in the state that have been rated hazardous for far too long and need to be fixed very soon. This report puts pressure on the Office of Dam Safety to ensure hazardous dams are repaired, replaced, or taken down. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide resources to do so. It highlights the potential of the State enforcing a draw-down of Curtis Pond if the dam isn’t fixed in the coming years.
It is conservatively estimated that loss of the pond would result in over $3 million in lost property taxes over 20 years. The bottom line is, it’s cheaper to fix the dam than to let it fail.
Doing nothing will cause economic and social damage beyond the loss of the tax base. Our current Curtis Pond would revert to a large swamp with two small ponds resulting in the loss of public swimming, boating, camping, ice skating, and summer and winter fishing. Loss of the pond would also be an enormous loss to the Maple Corner Community Store which relies on summer visitors for their busiest season. We’d be thrilled to add you to our growing list of supporters.
FUNDING STREAMS: How we plan to finance this critical project:
Grants: Our grant writing team is leaving no rock unturned. There are large amounts of covid, infrastructure, and other pools of government money floating around, and we are confident we'll find some that fit. That said, federal and state grant funding is slow. We're hopeful it will help with construction costs down the road, but we're on our own for the $100,000 in "soft costs" we need to invest this year in order to get where we need to be to apply for permits.
Fundraising: This will be a two-phase process. As soon as we reach our initial $100,000 fundraising goal, we can begin the engineering and permitting process. We hope to raise these funds by August 1st, 2022. We'll then continue raising money to cover as much of the construction costs as we can.
Town Bond: While we hope to cover all upfront costs as well as the majority of construction costs through personal contributions and grants, we plan to ask the Calais Voters to approve a bond to cover the remaining balance.
Fundraising Plan & Projected Timeline:
● Raise $100,000 for soft costs by August 2022 through community fund-raising. These funds will pay for permitting fees, engineering costs, legal legwork and other early expenses. It will take 12-18 months between raising these funds and hiring contractors.
● Through continued fundraising and grant writing, we’ll be working hard though out the process to raise as much as we can towards the construction costs by September 2023.
●Work with the Select Board and Calais Voters to get a town bond approved to cover the remainder of construction costs.
● Complete construction during the summer of 2024.
● Once completed, the Town of Calais will assume ownership of, and insure, the dam.