We appreciate that Tony Grassi has made a personal investment in having sketches drawn up by a landscape professional. While we applaud his respect for the integrity of the Olmsted design of Harbor Park, we would like to point out several shortcomings in the Grassi-Mohr plan.

First of all, and most importantly, the plan does not preserve Montgomery Dam. The dam and its waterfall and millpond are icons and treasures of Camden and deserve to be preserved. The Grassi-Mohr plan not only shortens the dam but lowers the dam by three feet. The majority of the dam will disappear. The plan calls for then removing up to two feet of bedrock to enable any water at all to reach the “ell” part of the dam (that is, the part facing the Public Landing).

The plan calls for the dam to be shortened from its 100-foot spillway to roughly 42 feet. In addition, making the dam lower by 3 feet is not a small adjustment to the level of the mill pond, it will make the mill pond practically disappear and much of the cascade of the waterfall along with it. The dam currently ranges from 12 feet high to some 8 inches high (when it is in good repair). Clearly most of the spillway will be gone if the Grassi-Mohr plan were to be put into effect. The height and breadth of the cascade of the falls will be severely reduced. In short, the plan fails to preserve the waterfall and fails at “keeping the dam and local landmark waterfall intact.”

As Tony Grassi underscored at the presentation of the plan, this plan is just one sketch in the process. But we regret that the plan does not preserve the waterfall, and in fact represents the destruction of a majority of the dam, waterfall, and millpond. We urge, in general, a design process that will emphasize preservation of the town’s waterfall, rather than emphasizing the introduction of fish and fish ladders into the Megunticook system.

Ken Gross
Roger Akeley
For the Save the Dam Falls Committee