Village of Homer in process of developing dam removal plan

The old Newton Line Dam in the Tioughnioga River in the village of Homer. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

Village of Homer officials are in the process of developing a plan to remove the old Newton Line Dam in the Tioughnioga River off of Route 11/South Main Street just outside of the village.

The dam, which has been abandoned “for years,” said village deputy mayor Pat Clune, is still “partially there.” The structure, Clune added, is “in shambles and crumbling.”

“Every time there is flooding, there’s an issue,” he said. “It’s no longer performing its function.”

Clune noted it’s been a blockage for people who canoe or kayak on the river.

“There’s some safety issues that we want to address,” he added. “That area needs to be cleaned up.”

Village Board of Trustees member Ed Finkbeiner said the dam “makes the water go really fast.”

“It causes some snags that could really hurt someone,” he noted.

Before the process of removing the dam begins, the village will conduct a Department of Environmental Conservation-required fresh mussel survey for the area.

Last Tuesday, village officials approved the DEC-required survey quote of $21,300.

“It’s brutal,” Village mayor Hal McCabe said of the cost of the survey. The village officials collectively, however, noted that it is needed.

“It’s one of those things that the government forces you to do,” Finkbeiner said.

Once the survey is complete, the village can begin sending out a request for proposals from potential contractors. Village clerk Dan Egnor mentioned that the amount of contracting for the impending project “depends on the flow of the river.”

Clune is unsure how much the project will cost as a whole, but mentioned the village has a $215,000 grant in place to cover most of the costs. A timetable to remove the dam has yet to be determined, he added.