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Posted on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 5:22 p.m.

Saving Argo Pond

By Alice Ralph

Seven and counting. That’s about the number of "Save Argo Pond" signs I saw in a short bike ride through my Burns Park neighborhood to a friend’s house. That’s more signs on this short route than I usually see for local elections, but we don’t get to vote on this issue. While talking with our Council member-elect Steve Kunselman at a downtown event last week, I remembered that he ran in favor of keeping the sound Argo Dam and renovating the other associated elements. He won.

But those who have pled for keeping Argo Dam in place are still hoping to win. Their “Save Argo Pond” signs are in other neighborhoods, too. I’ve noticed them in neighborhoods that are not so much ‘riverside’ because that’s where I happen to be going. Maybe these neighbors value this recreational venue as much as (or more than) anyone else. Some are rowers. I’m not. I just can’t see why we would demolish a sound civic asset when we are not likely to create anything of equal value anytime soon. We have something well worth maintaining, even at some expense. As for our Huron River, we are not only in it, it’s in us; we drink it. Most of our water supply comes from the pond (or “impoundment”) behind Barton Dam, upstream from Argo Dam. The Geddes and Superior Dams are downstream of Argo Dam. Barton and Superior Dams produce hydro-electric power. If we removed Argo Dam--the youngest one of these four dams--and the embankment, we still wouldn’t have a naturalized free-running Huron River. And we would be less one beloved recreational venue, with other possible negative impacts. Certainly, the investment in Argo Pond made decades ago is still valuable, even while more investment is needed. All we really need to do is the long-neglected maintenance of the earthen embankment. Although it will cost a lot, we won’t lose the Argo Pond and connections to the Huron River. We can take interim least-cost measures to protect the Huron River and Argo Pond, while we scrape our ‘pennies’ together for the additional investment. Alice Ralph lives in Burns Park where Mallet's Creek contributes to the Huron River.