EDINBURGH, Ind. — The people of Edinburgh are trying to save a historic piece of their small town’s history.
“It would be really sad if the dam was taken away,” said Timothy Myers, a lifelong Edinburgh resident.
Timothy Myers has called Edinburgh home for 74 years. But when he heard that one of his favorite spots in his hometown may get torn down, he was heartbroken.
“It would be like, it’s no longer Edinburgh anymore because it’s just been such a focal point of this town,” he said.
Earlier this month, Edinburgh’s Thompson Mill Dam partially burst leaving significant damage to the foundation and causing a series of other problems. Now the town has to make a difficult decision of what comes next for this historic landmark.
“The hard part for the council is that they know the dam is starting to fail,” said Kevin McGinnis, the Edinburgh Town Manager. “It’s been a monument for the town and it’s been here for a long, long time. People have a connection and an emotion tied to this dam. In theory, the dam is failing and should come out but they don’t want to harm the feelings of the community because they care about the feelings of the community.”
The town now has two main options. They can take the dam down with a grant that would fully fund it or they can try and repair it. They said the cost of that would be in the millions.
“The cost to repair the dam is going to be huge because you can’t just come in and take one section out,” McGinnis said. “We are talking about foundation issues with the dam.”
And with such a huge price tag for repairs, people living nearby are not sure if it’ll survive.
“This is one of the finest-looking dams I have ever seen and it’s quite a shame that it started rotting out,” said John J. Quinn, who lives nearby. “I would sure love to see it redone but finances being the way they are today, we don’t know what they’ll be able to do.”
There are also some concerns about dangers with the dam. In the summer of 2014, there was a fatal drowning involving teenagers. The entire community came together to support the families during that tragedy, and there was a push for more safety in the area. Since 2014, the town is not aware of any other serious or fatal drownings.
There is still a push from residents to preserve the historic value of the dam, which has now been around for nearly 150 years. That includes people like Timothy Myers. And with the dam still standing right now, Myers says the hope is something can be done to save it.
“Please [do] whatever it takes and I am sure there’s people in the town of Edinburgh that would donate to see this dam rebuilt,” he said.
In the coming weeks, the town is hoping to host a few community meetings to hear more from people living there on what they want to see happen with the dam. However, if the dam does come down, town leaders said they want to build a monument with some of the remnants.