Located on the Huron River in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the Peninsular Paper Dam was originally constructed in 1867 to provide power for paper manufacturing. The City of Ypsilanti now owns the dam and is responsible for managing it, which includes paying for inspections and repairs.

Peninsular Paper Dam on the Huron River in Ypsilanti

In 2014 Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) inspected the dam and informed the city that it needs to repair it. Because the dam no longer generates power, its usefulness has expired so a decision needs to be made: repair and maintain it, or remove it. About two years ago the City of Ypsilanti approached the Huron River Watershed Council to discuss issues with the Pen Paper Dam. Together, with some support from the Friends of Pen Park, HRWC and the city hired an engineering firm to study the dam and determine how much it would cost to remove it.

Now that the feasibility study is done (as of December 2018), costs of repair and maintenance and costs of removal are identified. The City of Ypsilanti can now make an informed decision on what to do with its dam. To this end, the City of Ypsilanti is hosting a Town Hall meeting to present the feasibility findings and discuss potential next steps with the community:

What Peninsular Dam Town Hall
Date Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Time 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Location Senior Citizens Center, 1015 North Congress, Ypsilanti

We will be at the meeting to share the report’s findings and answer questions. In the meantime, you can check out the feasibility study and get more information here. (HRWC is recommending dam removal.)

Here’s what you can do to support removal

  • If you live in Ypsilanti, we encourage you to attend the community discussion.
  • Check out our Pen Dam Removal Support Guidance document and use it to:
    • Submit comments through the online survey and comment portal at https://cityofypsilanti.com/ (The link will likely be at the bottom of the left hand menu.)
    • Contact your city council members directly by phone or email.
    • Tell your friends and family in Ypsilanti.