You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:03 a.m.

Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission recommends $1.17 million reconstruction of Argo Dam headrace

By Ryan J. Stanton


The conceptual design for the reconstruction of the Argo Dam headrace approved by the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission is shown, including a $180,000 whitewater feature.

It took nearly three hours of discussion, but the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission decided on a new plan Tuesday night for Argo Dam — a $1.17 million project city officials say will boost recreational opportunities while addressing safety concerns.

By a 7-1 vote, PAC made a recommendation to the Ann Arbor City Council to proceed with reconstruction of the dam's headrace and earthen embankment. The project is expected to go before the City Council for approval on Dec. 6.

The only person to voice opposition was Tim Berla, who said he thinks the city has failed to appropriately look into the option of dam removal.

As part of a consent agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the city is taking steps to address deficiencies in the dam's headrace embankment, specifically a series of toe drains the DNRE says are in need of repair.


The Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission favored a plan that includes reconstructing the Argo Dam headrace and embankment.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The city recently received bids showing it could repair the toe drains for about $700,000. But city staff instead is recommending — and PAC approved — a more expensive option that includes reconstructing the headrace and removing a canoe portage.

The base cost of the project is $988,170, but PAC chose the option of adding an additional "whitewater" amenity near the end of the headrace, which was about $180,000. Sam Offen was the only commissioner to dispute the extra costs, saying he thought the money could be better spent at another city park that caters to a different set of people.

The city wants to rebuild the 1,500-foot headrace — a channel that allows paddlers to bypass Argo Dam — to allow novice paddlers direct access the Huron River without having to lift their canoes and kayaks out of the water at the current portage site.

"Canoes weigh 85 pounds, and this is a pretty cumbersome task," said Colin Smith, the city's parks manager, calling it "an immense improvement" to remove the portage.

Molly Wade, the city's water quality manager, said the improvements are estimated to increase canoe livery revenues by $25,000 to $30,000 per year, as well as decrease ongoing maintenance and monitoring costs.

The city’s Argo Canoe Livery sees about 16,000 river trips each paddling season, resulting in about $210,000 in annual revenue from equipment rentals and sales. It is estimated that another 4,000 private canoeists also use the headrace each season.

Smith said the city has nearly $1.2 million in available funding to pay for the project. About three or four years ago, he said, the city allocated nearly $1.5 million in parks funds to pay for the removal of ash trees due to emerald ash borer. He said $683,000 of that went unspent and was returned to the parks capital fund in July.

In addition to tapping into that fund, Smith said $195,000 is available in a river parks capital project fund, and $300,000 remains unspent from money the city previously allocated from its water fund to repair the toe drains. Smith said there might be other opportunities for funding from Washtenaw County for $112,000 in trail improvements included in the project.

The project calls for transforming a portion of the border-to-border trail that runs along the embankment from a narrow dirt path into an 8-foot-wide paved trail.

Argo Dam originally was constructed in 1913 for Detroit Edison to generate hydroelectric power. The dam no longer is used for power generation, but is maintained by the city for recreation. The Ann Arbor VA hospital is exploring the option of using Argo and Geddes dams for hydropower, a move that could save the city money on maintenance.

City records show the city expects to spend nearly $1.5 million on additional maintenance and insurance costs for Argo Dam over the next two decades.

A report prepared for the city by Stantec Consulting Inc. in January 2009 showed it would cost about $1.3 million for complete dam removal. Those on the dam-out side of the argument over Argo, including the Huron River Watershed Council, say it's time to look at that option.

Ann Arbor attorney Scott Munzel, a Huron River Watershed Council board member, called on PAC to consider removing the dam once and for all.

"From where I sit as a city taxpayer, it appears to me that the city is conducting a policy of spending a significant amount of money with a very incomplete analysis," he said.

City officials said it's not a matter of dam-in versus dam-out at this point. They said the repairs being done to address deficiencies in the embankment are a direct response to orders from the state and don't put an end to discussions about the dam's long-term future.

Representatives of the project team gave a presentation to PAC, saying the amenities they propose adding — including the trail, bridges and headrace features — would remain even if the city eventually removed Argo Dam. The project team includes TSP Environmental, Beckett and Raeder, and Recreation Engineering and Planning.

Gary Lacy, an engineer with Colorado-based Recreation Engineering and Planning, said he hopes to get started on the project this winter while the ground is frozen — as opposed to muddy — and complete the work by early summer.

City Council Member Mike Anglin, an ex-officio member of PAC, praised the project during Tuesday's meeting, calling it "creative" and a good long-term investment in recreation.

City Council Member Christopher Taylor, an ex-officio member of PAC, said it's important to note the proposal is consistent with an eventual community decision to remove the dam.

"I was pleased to hear from TSP that the proposed improvements would still be highly useful even if the community decided to remove Argo Dam five, 10 or 20 years down the line," he said. "No matter what the community decides, the money spent on this project will not have been wasted."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Michael Psarouthakis

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:12 a.m.

City Council approved the hybrid mill race/ white water option this evening by a vote of 9 in favor and 1 against.

Jeff Martin

Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 1:46 a.m.

As a recreational kayaker, I really like the idea of the headrace. I do question the extra 25-30k in expected revenue as a result though. That seems like a stretch.

Michael Psarouthakis

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 12:49 p.m.

Rork, the option PAC endorsed also increases the recreation opportunity for every class of users and does not hurt rowers which is likely why the poll is so overwhelmingly in favor of this solution and is also the most recreational friendly solution. Most of the other polls on this matter have been in favor of keeping the dam and pond but much closer. See the poll in the article I reference below as one example, about the same number of votes (much closer result). This solution addresses practically every concern except for those that want the dam removed under any circumstance. Yet from the comments and poll results for this article it appears this proposal does appeal to some dam out supporters because it still leaves the option of hydroelectric and dam removal and also appears to dramatically reduce if not entirely eliminate toe drain maintenance. xmo and Hospadaruk, regarding the cost of removing the dam and hydroelectric potential, here is an interesting post from Don Bee in a related and recent article regarding Argo at this link As mentioned previously note the poll for this article, much closer result with similar number of respondents. The results for the poll in this article makes me think this solution is strongly supported by many from both sides of the issue. Here is Don Bee's post: "@Epengar - In the last 5 years most low head dams have started to re-fit with tubular turbines. It would take work to put them in, but they are much higher efficiency than the old axial types. Also the interest rates on the DOE loans are about 1/4 of what they would have been in a study "a few years ago". Without all the numbers (daily flow rates, head, etc) I can not tell you what the payback is. But I have a model that with the numbers I can give you a payback time period (including regular maintenance and assuming power prices do not change). If you like I can include carbon avoidance in the payback calculation. @Hexagenia - 184,000 Cubic Yards of silt - assuming a 10% hazardous rate would end up being in the 1.8 to 3.6 million dollar range to remove, treat and dispose of. The limited sampling that has been done, does not mean that there are no issues. It has been 40 years since the pond was drained and dredged. In that time PCBs came and went, dioxane sources came and went and other plants on the river did too. Add people who did not want to pay to dispose of waste correctly and you have an almost 100% chance that at least some of the silt will end up being hazardous waste. In general leaving the silt in place results in property owners filing suit against the dam owner, so don't expect that the silt could be left in place and planted. State and Federal permits will be required to remove the dam, sample the site and re-hab the water course. Expect that the city will spend between $200,000 and $1,000,000 before any deconstruction starts. Sculpting a new river bed will probably required bringing in a reasonable amount of gravel, rock and sand. For a 15 foot wide water course, figure about 5 cubic yards per linear foot of water course. For 30 feet figure 18 cubic yards. (Without the GIS maps or topographical maps I am a loss to give you a stream plan) I doubt people would want a straight river, so figure 130 to 170 percent of the linear distance from the start of reclamation to the dam for a length. margin areas (shallow spawning areas and "frog flats" add to the amount of material and care that has to be taken. Depending on the care you want to take with the reconstruction it can take between $800 and $5,000 a linear foot to build a new stream bed, after the silt is removed. Want deep holes for trout fishing? That is extra (and normally opens a new can of worms for hazardous waste). There is not a lot of natural drop in the run of the pond (the total drop is equal to the height of the dam, so in most days you will get more of a lazy river than a white water area. Creating an artificial white water area required additional permits and in many case requires pumps to recirculate the water and raise the water level up stream, adding to the material required to build the stream banks. I am sorry I cannot give you exact numbers." Don's comments do not take into consideration the DTE property issue just past the dam and either cleaning up the ground pollution or putting up a permanent barrier to prevent erosion of the polluted soil into the river which I would guess will add substantial costs to a dam out solution. Don's post also did not consider the addition of a new walking bridge to cross the river to maintain the current trail.

David Cahill

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 9:06 a.m.

The participants in the poll are those who care enough to participate - in other words, those people who are politically active on the issue. I frankly thought most people who vote for the less expensive option. I'm pleased that there is a clear public mandate for this new plan.

Rork Kuick

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 8:36 a.m.

Hospadaruk: Thanks for pointing out just a few of the many straw men of that Wolverine comment. I know it's hard to burn them all. The main notion seems to be that if it can't be perfect, we might as well do any fool thing we feel like at the moment. I'll add that I think dam-out will increase the recreational opportunity for every major class of users except one (rowers). Folks, please don't pretend these online polls reflect people's opinions with any accuracy. I have no idea who bothers participating.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:24 p.m.

@81wolverine - Guess you didn't like my plan. So let's remove all the dams then - I know, we should start with Argo, have to start somewhere right? I'm not looking for, your words, "happy, free-flowing, natural river full of native wildlife", I'm first looking to save money and have a great recreation area for canoes and kayaks. If fish like it too, that's a bonus! You are probably a rower though... I love rowers, but can you pay for your own rowing pond somewhere? Hey, where do you get the "millions" to remove the dame figure? I'd say it's "millions" to keep it and maintain it for the years to come...


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:19 p.m.

Whitewater through the mill race? What a joke. Summertime flows through the millrace are often less than 50 cfs or so. If this plan is implemented you will add a bunch of stagnant pools requiring extra portages.

Jim Clarkson

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:11 p.m.

So 1.17 Million dollars for this project and here I thought the city was broke and could not afford anything, like a skatepark. Whitewater amenity for $180,000, nice touch.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:01 p.m.

Should beaver dams also be removed?


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:31 p.m.

@Hospadaruk and other idealogues of a "happy, free-flowing, natural river full of native wildlife": Your utopia is NEVER going to happen unless... A) every dam on the Huron is removed including Barton (which would eliminate the city's drinking water supply) and Gallup, B)the city of Ann Arbor is moved from the Huron River Valley down to Milan or some other city outside the flood plain thereby eliminating all the pollutants running into the river, C) all of the paved over urban areas are restored to woodland, D) millions of dollars are spent cleaning up and restoring all the reclaimed land after the dam is removed. Sound absurd? No less so than the argument that taking out one dam along a river with dozens of them and not removing the dams immediately above and below it; plus spending millions of dollars to accomplish this; plus ending up with land used by a few hundred residents instead of many thousands for recreation; plus the belief that adding a 2 mile stretch of "natural" river will magically result in the fish populations returning to normal; plus the idea that the ecosystem in an area that's been heavily developed for over 150 years is going to return to a totally natural state. I'm totally in favor of preserving habitat for wildlife. But, this crusade to restore a small section of the Huron River to some marginal replica of what it used to look like in the past at the cost of millions of dollars of public money in a very poor economy makes absolutely no sense to me.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 4:43 p.m.

This just in! An even better plan from the engineering firm of Bob & Bob: (I didn't even charge the city for this, not one dime!)


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

For those of you see that removing the canoe portage is great thing: We do realize that removing the dam does the same thing? No dam, no reason to portage! Canoeing and kayaking would be best served by removing the dam, and hey, those increased rental revenues can help pay for the dam removal! Then we'll enjoy never having to pay for dam and headrace maintenance - are we forgetting about these permanent ongoing future costs of keeping in a useless dam? Come on Mayor and City Council!! Why do you present only the choice of keeping the dam... or keeping the dam?

Michael Psarouthakis

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 2:27 p.m.

David, I still see the poll, it currently reads 72% in favor of the proposal, 18% in favor of removing the dam, 6% in favor of lower cost (fix the toe drains) solution, and 3% don't know. A total of 581 votes.

Michael Psarouthakis

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 2:17 p.m.

This certainly seems to be a solution that a majority from both sides of the dam in/dam out argument seem to like. At least by the indication from the comments and poll results so far.

David Cahill

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 2:08 p.m.

Hmm. Now the poll is back (with 72% approval), although the headline "With Poll" is not. What's the dam problem?

David Cahill

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 1:57 p.m.

This morning there was an poll showing 68% approval of the Commission's recommended plan. Now the poll, together with the headline "With Poll", has disappeared. How come?

Rork Kuick

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:29 p.m.

For me it's just wasting money before finally doing the right thing, which is to remove the dam. I'm not too excited about fish passage, since it is from one fake lake below without passage, to another fake lake above, with upstream passage blocked by Barton dam. It's not a step backward though. I'm not very impressed by "no portage" since it seems the livery could have just started people out below the dam. (I am imagining the headrace being gone, thereby not needing much maintenance, and you could have a road right to the put-in, and drop boats off there.)


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:28 p.m.

@ CobraI, what Dexter did is amazing and ideally I can only hope that other municipalities follow suit in the future! Just and FYI, here is a link a site regarding the benefits of wetlands. Link:


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:18 p.m.

@SonnyDog09: Not everyone is as able-bodied (I presume) as you. Personally, I'm delighted that the city is expanding recreational opportunities for the less able-bodied. Paving the trail and eliminating the portage are both big steps in that direction (plus will be appreciated by the able-bodied as well).


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

The $1.17 million project, if approved by council as is, would mostly work as a dam-in solution, although the trail area could be reconfigured as a point of entry for a river park after the dam is gone a generation from now. It's helpful that increased canoe rentals will likely pay off the additional cost (above and beyond the $700,000 mimimal plan) over a decade or two. Should there be a future emergency need for hydro power from the dam, that option remains. The $1.3 million estimate for dam removal continues to be bandied about. Per the lengthy discussion following the previous article on this topic, it doesn't include expensive follow-up projects that removal will necessitate.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : noon

Why does the city always seem to spend more than it needs to? If all that is legally required is to repair the toe drains, why load on all sorts of bells and whistles to the project? Spend the $700k to repair the toe drains. Let the canoe folks continue to carry their canoes, and let the bikes continue to ride on a (gasp) unpaved trail. Show some fiscal responsibility for crying out loud!


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

"$300,000 remains unspent from money the city previously allocated from its water fund to repair the toe drains." The city should *not* be using drinking/sewage treatment funds to pay for any work on Argo Dam. Those funds should be used to support the infrastructure every resident needs, not a recreation feature that only some residents want. "The dam no longer is used for power generation, but is maintained by the city for flood control and recreation." Steve Bean is right, Argo Dam has no flood control function.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:45 a.m.

I think the dam out would be great, just go to Dexter & see what a nice swamp they made taking the dam out; NOT!!!!!!!

Rod Johnson

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:37 a.m.

I agree with TC too--on balance I'm dam-out, but I recognize that Argo Pond is a wonderful amenity, and if we're going to keep it, let's make it excellent.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

At the meeting, the main reason I heard for paving the trail with asphalt is to improve access for disabled individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. This seems reasonable for an urban park such as this.

Steve Bean

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

Ryan, my understanding is that the dam provides no flood control capability.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

I'm with TC - I'd much rather see the dam come out, but if it's going to stay in this seems like the most reasonably attractive alternative. I can't wait to see all the log jams of Grummans piled up on that stretch every weekend though. And yes, it might be nice to put this up to a vote, if we had done it several years ago. The city has dragged its feet on this issue for so many years however, that there simply is no longer time. I think that if the council said "wait, now we're going to let the people vote on it", the people at the MDEQ wouldn't be able to put up with any more delays that they already have. Now let's see if the city council can actually make a decision on this, or if they can find a way to delay it for another few years or so. How many years have we now been avoiding addressing repair and maintenance concerns of the MDEQ, and what is the latest deadline demanded for final plans? Isn't it coming up in November, with completion of the project required by the end of next year?


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

A paved trail works better for some users. People can't roller blade on dirt trails. Not all bikes work well on dirt trails. A paved trail offers more opportunities for a variety of uses, not just for runners. I completely agree that a runner is better suited to a hard packed dirt trail though.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:52 a.m.

I think this is a great plan, as it will enhance the already really good recreational opportunities of the Argo Pond area. And I don't think we should give up on hydroelectric power for the site either. There may be some more advanced technology options which can accelerate the payback time. With all the recreational benefits the community is currently getting from the Argo Pond area (Bandemer Park, Argo Livery, trails, pedestrian bridge across the dam, etc.), plus the benefits from this new rebuilding of the berm/headrace, it would be a very shortsighted and costly decision to ever remove the dam. Removing dams CAN be beneficial to communities in some cases - but not this one. Hopefully, this decision to upgrade the dam will end the devisive dam in/dam out debate for the forseeable future.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

This is great, we love canoeing at Argo - but I have a "sketchy" back form a horseback riding accident, so the portage/carrying of the canoe is extremely difficult. The dam needed fixing anyway, might as well do it up right.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:42 a.m.

While I generally like the proposal, I don't see any reason why the bike path needs to be paved. A hard-packed dirt trail is much better aesthetically, as it preserves a more natural feel, and is easier on runners as well. Few things are as ugly and unnecessary as paved asphalt path through a nature area.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:34 a.m.

I'm guessing that PAC has not been on the river canoeing before. The majority of casual paddlers in this stretch of the river have no idea what they are doing. I've rescued inept paddlers before just downstream of the area in question. They better put a lifeguard at the white water, because we will have people falling into the water left and right. I mean, seriously, these paddlers are really bad. They can't handle the whitewater.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:07 a.m.

I'm a dam out guy. However, the plan seems like a good one - if - we decide to keep the dam. If we are going to take it out later, take it out now. Are we just kicking this tough decision down the road? Why don't we put it to a citywide vote before committing to this plan.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:48 a.m.

@xmo: Projects that don't make economic sense, such as the aforementioned hydroelectric generating option, will never happen. It is wishful thinking, so get over it! Note however that there are newer technologies, such as mid-stream river turbines, which can be used for generating electricity without having an ugly dam blocking a river: those options have not yet been investigated. Also "saving the earth" is not as simple as removing the dam! Even if the dam is removed, the ecosystem will not magically return to the pre-1832 conditions. A study should be conducted to determine the costs and benefits --both economic and ecological-- of future dam removal. Like it or not, all "natural" ecosystems are now human-managed ecosystems in a world that is no longer pristine. We need to learn how to do the hard and complex analysis that ties in economics, natural ecology, and human ecology together to find the compromise "sweet spot" solutions that provide a balance between economic cost, natural ecological diversity, and best-practice urban planning. I for one applaud the Park Advisory Commission for recommending a solution that is not the cheapest option but does appears to have a number of attractive benefits for our community -- and also does not exclude the possibility of future dam removal. At the meeting, Gary Lacy described the additional modifications that would be required if a future dam removal option were pursued, and those modifications would not negate the investment in the currently-recommended headrace reconstruction.

Russ Miller

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

KJMClark - Hydro could still be installed at the current dam site. The hydraulic head is 3 feet less at the dam than the historic powerhouse so the power generation is reduced, but the alternative of using the millrace to carry water to the old powerhouse is unattractive (in my opinion) because it would require nearly all of the water to be diverted from the river and eliminate even the current portage in addition to costing a lot more. Economic payback time was NOT found to be infinite, although it wasn't short - Stantec estimated 40 years in 2008 with moderate electricity cost growth, and the US Army Corps of Engineers study for the VA found it to be over 25 years. That's compared to DTE electricity which is mostly coal fired. Like a person buying a hybrid car or building a rain garden, there might be other important factors besides money payback time. Ribs - Fish passage was not mentioned in the presentation but the construction is pools about 3 feet deep separated by grouted rock runs. The design has no sudden drops. I spoke to one of the presenters after the meeting and asked about fish passage - he said trout started using a similar feature during construction at a Petosky project that they just did. It's a good question to follow up on before it goes to council.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:05 a.m.

Let's do the Hydroelectric plant. When did return on investment ever matter when you are saving the earth? Spend the 5-10 million dollars and save the planet? (it doesn't make sense but let's be progressive) "Hydroelectric has already been studied. All sides pretty much agree that the payback time is infinite."


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

It's not an interim solution, it's a complementary solution to dam-in or dam-out. And, personally, I believe its great that by removing the portage they are opening up canoeing to folks whose disabilities prevent them from portaging a canoe but otherwise could be out enjoying the river.

Bob W

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

"City officials said it's not a matter of dam-in versus dam-out at this point. They said the repairs being done to address deficiencies in the embankment are a direct response to orders from the state and don't put an end to discussions about the dam's long-term future." Right, dam removal is still on the table. What a joke. Why spend $1.17 million for what could be an interim solution.. because the city, council and mayor clearly don't see it as interim. If portaging a canoe is too much effort, perhaps they should consider another hobby.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:29 a.m.

KJMClark, Hydroelectric has already been studied. All sides pretty much agree that the payback time is infinite. Also, it is unlikely that ferc would license a new hydroelectric dam.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

It is my understanding that a new cost-benefit study by the Army Corps of Engineers shows that hydropower at Argo will cost $5-10 million dollars just to get started; the study basically concluded it's not worth the cost.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

Will this plan include fish passage? Where will the money come from?


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

why is city government in the canoe livery business...? why is the dam NOT used for hydro power? It used to be... Ann Arbor should set an example for the country and take the $, update the dam for hydro and use that instead of paying DTE... Save the taxpayers $ on electric bills on city/county buildings, street lights, etc... One example of cost is here One building is over $6k per year for electricity... Does anyone know how much A2 and Wash Cty pay for electricity annually? Does anyone know how much hydro power we could get from an updated dam? Seems to me we have lots of long term options for the dam other than potentially adding $25k to canoe livery revenues...


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:14 a.m.

Smart Plan! If the city can rebuild the 1,500-foot headrace to allow novice paddlers direct access the Huron River without having to lift their canoes and kayaks out of the water, then that is great!Well done. sure glad I voted for y'all!

Chip Reed

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:59 a.m.

If the dam gets removed eventually, how will water get into the headrace?


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:45 a.m.

On one hand, rapids like that would be a nice kayaker draw. Boulder would no longer have the bragging rights of having a whitewater canoe/kayak run that we don't. On the other hand, this plan would preclude using the dam to produce clean electricity. The headrace would more-or-less still exist, but there would no longer be any head at the power station. We'd have to dam that back up if we ever wanted to produce GHG-free electricity there. So while we may be sweltering in our Kentucky-like summers, we can always head down to the river and enjoy a little whitewater!


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:34 a.m.

This area, with its trail circuit around the Argo pond, provides one of the premier recreational areas in Ann Arbor for all kinds of users - runners, walkers, bikers, canoeists, kayakers, rowers, dogs and their people, etc. and this plan looks like a fantastic investment in this big recreational, fitness, and sports community. Why not see if some money can be raised from these enthusiastic users and supporters to help pay for the additional cost? My guess is that it wouldn't be too hard.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:30 a.m.

Was there no discussion of potential liability from the whitewater feature? Whitewater canoeing can be quite dangerous and one fatality and the city will pay a lot of attorney's fees and possibly a judgement against the city.