|The Rife-Loth Dam, built in 1907, holds back the South River between Lyndurst Road and Rife Road.|
By Tony Gonzalez
The News Virginian
The owners of a century-old dam on the South River say the deteriorating structure is a dangerous liability that must be removed, but their latest proposal to demolish it has met with impassioned opposition.
During the past five years, the board of directors of the Ram Works Homeowners Association has debated whether to repair or remove the Rife-Loth Dam, built in its current form in 1907. The dam holds back the South River where it flows along Rife Road, just upstream from the Waynesboro YMCA.
Board President Chester Campbell said the panel recently decided — but has not formally voted — to remove the dam. He said the dam is a drowning and injury danger that escalates insurance costs and that rehabilitation, at a cost of $150,000 to $250,000, is at least three times as expensive as removal.
Repairs would not qualify for government grant money or be supported by environmental agencies, Campbell said.
“I exhausted any possibility that I thought we have of finding funding to restore the dam,” said Campbell, 83. “There’s nobody — no one — that hates to see that dam go worse than I do.”
Campbell’s estimate of his emotional attachment to the dam, like almost every piece of the proposal to remove it, has been contested this month, and for years. Some who live among the 72 units at Ram Works oppose removing the dam because they say it adds historic value and character, makes the property attractive for renting and selling, and for the tranquility provided by the ever-present sound of falling water.
Read part one.
Read part two.
Labels: environment, The News Virginian, Waynesboro
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