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Cornwall dam receives state grant, nears fundraising goal

Cornwall Creek Flooding
Courtesy Photo
Curtis Goldsborough
Cornwall Creek Flooding Dam in the Pigeon River State Forest

The group Save Cornwall is nearing its fundraising goal to preserve a coveted dam in northern Michigan, with the help of a quarter-million state grant.

Just last year, state officials said it would take a "miracle" to save the Cornwall Creek Flooding Dam in the Pigeon River State Forest.

Now, the state is giving $250,000 in funding to support the high-hazard dam's restoration.

In a video statement, Curtis Goldsborough, a local organizer with Save Cornwall, said he had hoped for the funding, but the group is not completely in the clear due to regulatory uncertainties.

"Obviously, we're in a much better financial position, but at the same time, we can't look at that grant funding dollars and just say awesome, we've met our fundraising goal. Everything is going to happen exactly as we want it to and let's declare victory,'" Goldsborough said.

The state is revising its dam safety standards, and the estimated cost to repair Cornwall is not final yet. Goldsborough said grant dollars also come with several stipulations on how they can be used.

He said the group's fundraiser is still accepting donations from the public until June, but the grant is a huge step in preserving the dam.

"That funding piece is no longer our biggest hurdle," Goldsborough said. "With this grant funding, fingers crossed — we don't know what the bid process is going to look like — but from a financial perspective, it seems like we're in pretty good shape."

Cornwall's water levels will be drawn down ahead of the summer to prep the dam for repairs.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
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