Canal shareholders vote to seek loan

Shareholders of a local canal company have voted to seek a loan to fund their portion of the canal renovation. Keith Meikle, President of the Logan, Hyde Park, Smithfield Canal Company – also called the “upper” canal company – said the vote was part of a special Monday night meeting. “There is a 25 percent match required to the 75 percent contribution of the federal government,” said Meikle, “and the total cost of the project is $6 million. Depending on how much the cities decide to contribute, that will determine how much our canal companies will have to share.” Meikle said the two canal companies will contribute about 50-50 for that portion and Logan Northern Canal Company had previously voted to bond for their half of the cost. He said estimates have been set at about $1.5 million per canal company. Meikle said it’s not certain when the project will get started. “Due to the significant outcry by community related to the environmental concerns of reconstructing a canal, the federal agency decided to proceed with an environmental impact statement,” said Meikle. “If no significant impact is found then the project could begin possibly as soon as this fall. Otherwise it could take until January and maybe allow us to start construction next spring.” What about this growing season? “Right now the upper canal is going to try to carry as much of Logan northern’s water as it can and we’re asking our users to conserve water as much as possible so we can use as much of that capacity to re-deliver water to the Logan northern users. “There are some improvised means we have to get water to them. They’re not great, they function, but really only allow us to deliver about half of what Logan northern is used to getting.” Meikle said farmers can adequately get through this growing season if fairness is exercised all around and if the water is managed and conserved. “We can get by,” he said. “It’s advised certain crops not be grown like corn and high water usage crops. A lot of farmers have held off planting new alfalfa crops and have just kept it in grain.” Meikle said canal users consider this an emergency water project. “They consider it a large emergency,” he said, “and we just pray we can get through this environmental study quickly and get started with the construction.” Meikle said the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) would begin a public comment period. “The public will have a chance to comment on the five alternatives possible for carrying the Logan northern water and also voice any concerns about what they value most within the project whether it’s the saving of water for future development or purely aesthetics and so forth. From there the NRCS can really tailor the project to the community. They are trying to manage an emergency water project and build it for the long term benefit of the community.”

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