TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The removal of the Markle Mill Dam in northern Vigo County will begin in less than a week.
Starting Monday, Oct. 9th, crews will start the process of tearing down the structure, which was built over 200 years ago. Earlier this year, the Vigo County Commissioners voted unanimously to remove it, citing its deteriorating condition and safety concerns.
Commissioner Mark Clinkenbeard provided the update during Tuesday’s Vigo County Council meeting, and said he understood the sentiment of sadness from some longtime community members.
“It’s an iconic, historic place in our community and none of us wanted to see this happen, but unfortunately, we don’t have any other choice,” he said. “The dam is failing, it’s going to fail, and by doing it now we can get 90% of those costs covered.”
Rosedale Road, which runs next to the park, will close Monday from 8 a.m. to noon to allow residents one last chance to take pictures and see the dam.
Vigo County Councilmember Marie Theisz has lived in the area for nearly 30 years, and said it’s seen an uptick in visitors as we’ve neared the official start date for construction.
“I’ve already seen over the past few weeks traffic pick up, a lot of people parking and taking pictures, doing that,” she said. “I’m afraid if we didn’t close the road people would be stopping and looking, that curve is really a tough curve, so I think it will provide an opportunity.”
The removal comes as the county is also pursuing several upgrades at the park– adding new equipment, removing trees and renovating the parking lot. Theisz said she also hopes to see the history of the location celebrated in some form.
“I look forward to the new improvements. The north end, specifically in the county, has not hard a lot of opportunity for park growth,” she said. “I try to look at what we can save historically, we’re trying to save the parts of the dam that had an impact.”
Clinkenbeard said removal is estimated to take around a week– but that could change.
“That all depends on what they find underneath it, we’re expecting they will find a wooden structure, and we’ll have an archaeologist and a historian on site,” he said. “They will document all those items, so it’s going to be interesting to see what’s under there.”