Authority acquires Republic Dam

REPUBLIC — The 28th annual Republic Fishing Derby will go on as scheduled in July, after state and township officials, members of the Republic Sportsman’s Club and local businesses worked together to make it a reality.

The Michigamme River Basin Authority has inked a deal with Republic Mountain Lake LLC to buy the Republic Dam for $50,000.

The dam’s three lift gates have been re-fabricated and were re-installed this week, and officials have secured the necessary permitting from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the club to operate the dam.

“We will have water for the fishing derby,” said authority board member Jim Brennan, “I didn’t expect to be here until next year, but we are happy, everyone is happy.”

Brennan said A. Lindberg and Sons Inc. removed the gates, then re-fabricated them for re-installation at a cost of $49,000.

The repairs could be funded through a secured loan, as long as the authority is able to pay off the $50,000 mortgage for the dam property within 45 days.

“The (authority) paid $20,000 on the mortgage,” Brennan said, adding that the Republic Sportsman’s Club has “raised about $12,000, and we’re looking to get another $20,000 so then we can get a note to pay for the gates.”

Brennan said the club opened a savings account at TruNorth Credit Union, which is currently accepting donations for the project.

Brennan said the project would not have been possible without the help of A. Lindberg and Sons and the dam’s former owner, Republic Mountain Lake LLC.

Now that the gates are installed it will take about 15 days for the water to reach the desired level for the fishing derby, Brennan said.

Brennan said the next step is to secure funding for a permanent spillway to replace the dam, a long-term goal outlined by the DEQ permit.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at lbowers@miningjournal.net.