Police & Fire

Dover-Foxcroft residents vote to keep their dam

Dover-Foxcroft residents voted Tuesday to keep the historic Mayo Mill dam and will instead pay an estimated $6 million to $8 million to repair it.

There were 411 residents who voted in support of the town working with its partners to secure grant funding to remove the dam and develop a plan to restore the riverfront, according to results provided by Julie Trotter, interim town clerk, on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, 557 residents rejected the article, meaning they were in favor of the town needing taxpayer money to fund studies, permitting and repair costs for the dam.

Results provided by the town to the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday night contained an error. According to the warden’s results sheet, 411 residents voted in favor of removing the dam, while 310 residents voted in favor of keeping it.

“The dam will remain in place,” Trotter clarified Wednesday.

Leading up to Tuesday’s election, residents grappled with how dam removal could alter the town’s identity. The fate of the structure has proven to be controversial, particularly since a town committee recommended in January removing the dam and landscaping to create a park downtown, which was estimated to cost $20 million.

The town committee partnered with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Nature Conservancy in Maine and Inter-Fluve in 2022 to find a solution to the aging dam and connected facilities. Its report cited reducing flooding dangers, improving fish passage and the availability of funding to remove dams as reasons for the recommendation.

The warrant article on Tuesday’s ballot signaled to residents that if they did not approve the dam removal plan, they would be on the hook to repair it. Construction to remove the dam is estimated to cost $6,308,500, according to the article. Riverfront improvements are estimated to cost $6 million.

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