Feeling anxious about the removal of the Minnesota Falls Dam? Have questions and want answers? Then get on the bus Thursday, October 11 for a Minnesota Falls Dam Removal Field Trip and Dialogue hosted by Yellow Medicine East Community Education and Clean Up the River Environment (CURE).
Participants will meet at Memorial Park (located on Highway 67 south of Granite Falls) at 5:00 p.m. for a light supper and beginning at 5:45 p.m. busses will be loaded. Upon arriving at the dam site, Chris Domeier from the Department of Natural Resources will give a short explanation on the benefits of dam removal.
Following the presentation, participants will return to Memorial Park for discussion after the tour. Chris Domeier, CURE Executive Director Patrick Moore and Granite Falls locals Tom Cherveny and Joe Hauger as well as others will take part in a dialogue with community members about the issue.
"In conversations with community members, CURE has detected a lot of anxiety surrounding the removal of the dam. It is our desire, working in collaboration with Community Ed., to alleviate that anxiety by allowing people to talk about it with friends and neighbors and officials from Xcel Energy and the DNR, using tools we've learned through the Art of Hosting training to facilitate dialogue," said Moore.
CURE's Executive Director said that above all else the event was about education, enabling citizens to have their questions answered about project timelines, the removal process and whatever else might be on their minds.
"The more you know the less you fear," he said. "It's no different than the US - Dakota War dialogues of late. There are different positions, different worldviews and seeing how people tend to stay in their own echo chambers we hope this event will foster some courageous conversations that get to the heart of matters."
Those interested must register by Wednesday, October 10 with either YME Community Education at 320-564-4081 ext 111 or CURE at 320-269-2984.
Cost is $5 per person or $10 per family. CURE members may attend for free.
The dam was built in 1904 to harness the river's current to generate electricity. It is approximately 16 feet high and is located one mile downstream from the defunct coal fired power plant which is visible from Highway 23 and owned by Xcel Energy. The power plant was last used nine years ago. Xcel energy is in the process of removing the dam and restoring the natural rapids.