The Clary Lake Association is the new owner of the Clary Lake Dam and will start the process of dam repairs, which will allow it to restore the historical water level of the lake on the Jefferson-Whitefield line.
The association received the deed to the dam Friday, Oct. 12. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved the sale in an oral ruling Sept. 28, but the association had to wait out a 14-day appeal period.
Richard Smith, of AquaFortis Associates LLC, appealed the judge’s decision Oct. 12, but did not request a stay of the order.
The Clary Lake Association’s ownership of the dam is protected after the appeal period because the judge’s order included protections for a “good faith” buyer.
The deed conveying the dam to the Clary Lake Association was recorded in the Lincoln County Registry of Deeds, association Secretary George Fergusson said.
Paul Kelley, the sole member of Pleasant Pond Mill LLC, previously held the deed to the dam.
The purchase price for the dam was $80,000. Medius L3C, which held the mortgage on the dam, received $32,500 from the bankruptcy trustee to satisfy the remainder of the mortgage. The rest of the $80,000 will be used to pay legal fees and creditors.
The Clary Lake Association initially raised about $122,000 for legal proceedings and dam repairs; however, Fergusson said the association is $15,000 short of what it needs.
Since starting its second iteration of fundraising almost two weeks ago, the association has raised $6,000 of the additional $15,000 it needs for repairs.
Now that it owns the dam, the first step for the association is to repair it.
The association has Linkel Construction Inc., of Topsham, lined up to do the work, Fergusson said. The estimated cost of the repairs is $35,500.
A permit by rule notice has been filed with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for work around the dam.
Removal of overgrowth around the dam and vegetation growing out of the dam itself has already begun.
Other work will include construction of a new sluice, a water channel controlled by a gate; and the sealing of the upstream face of the dam, using liners and other means, to prevent leaking.
Fergusson said an underground gasoline storage tank on the property will be removed and any soil contamination will be remediated.
He anticipates surveying the 0.13-acre parcel that came with the dam and marking the property’s corners.
If the association raises enough money, it plans to install a dry hydrant at the dam site in Whitefield and another at the intersection of Route 215 and Route 126 in Jefferson.
Fergusson said he will file paperwork to transfer the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s water-level order from Pleasant Pond Mill LLC to the association.
The order directed Kelley to fix the deteriorating dam, which was breached during Hurricane Irene in 2011. Since then, the water level has dropped significantly.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael A. Fagone stripped restrictive covenants on the dam set in the summer of 2013 by AquaFortis Associates LLC and Pleasant Pond Mill LLC, Fergusson said.
The covenants would have restricted the water flow through or over the dam to no more than 50 cubic feet per second. The covenants were established to prevent damage to the mill building from water flowing downstream.
Smith, the sole member of AquaFortis Associates LLC, will continue to own the old mill house on top of the dam.
AquaFortis Associates LLC will also continue to own the Clary Mill building across Route 218 from the dam and a 1-acre parcel of land next to the dam.