Court settles Corunna dam ownership dispute

river eastA 170 year old dam in Shiawassee County finally has a clear future.

The City of Corunna had been challenging it’s ownership of the dam, saying there was a break in valid ownership back in 1979 when a deed was obtained.

 

But two lower courts said Corunna was indeed the dam’s owner, and the state Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to those decisions.

Joseph Sawyer is the City Manager of Corunna. He says the goal is now to remove the dam, but there are some mixed feelings.

“A lot of people over the years have taken the sentiment in Corunna that they recognize it’s not going to be fixed, they recognize that no one is going to put the money in to do that, that there’s no grant available to do that. At the same time hoping that mother nature was going to take care of it over time slowly, and that maybe they would be around to see it” says Sawyer.

The city is actively pursing a state grant to cover the cost of the removal.

“We’re in a position now, where if were were forced to remove it ourselves without any grant assistance, were not looking at a six digit figure anymore. The benefits of the grant are we get the aquatic habitat, some fishing habitat, some bank stabilization” said Sawyer.

Corunna has applied for a $300,000 grant to remove the dam. That will cover most of the estimated cost of $430,000.