TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Vigo County Commissioners held an informational meeting to discuss the future of the Markle Mill Dam on Wednesday.
Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer said that nothing has been finalized and no decision has been made on tearing down the dam.
Switzer said that there is a sense of urgency to make a decision but he added that there is no rush. He mentioned that there are grant opportunities available to deal with the dam. He said if the county waits, those grants might not be available.
“We have the availability to do this right now and get most of the funding,” Switzer said. “If this dam were to fail a year from now, that’s on us.”
Various officials presented information at the meeting about what the process of a potential removal would look like. Many of those speakers expressed safety and environmental concerns.
The dangers of the dam are no surprise. Numerous county officials said it’d be best to act as soon as possible as the dam poses a liability issue.
“We hate to remove history,” Switzer explained. “At this point, if we don’t take action we know something is going to fail or somebody is going to get hurt.”
Melanie Porter-Bailey was a long-time Vigo County resident before moving to Parke County. She explained the long history that she and her family has with the Markle Mill dam.
“I just took my granddaughter there a couple of years ago just to share that experience with her,” Porter-Bailey stated. “It’s just a place of childhood memories.”
Porter-Bailey was one of many who posed questions about the potential removal of the dam, particularly the issue of safety.
Porter-Bailey explained the importance of personal responsibility. She said that those who approach the dam should take personal responsibility.
“If we post signs for their protection, and they go against that, then that falls upon them,” Porter-Bailey said.
As this process continues, Switzer assured that historical components of the dam will be preserved.
“Hopefully, there’s timber or something that can be saved,” Switzer said. “I would love to get that in the historical museum.”
The next public session regarding the property will be on March 1st from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Otter Creek Middle School.