Officials tour, discuss Perryville Dam repairs

Published 6:41 am Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Chaplin River, which often dries up or becomes stagnant behind Merchants Row in Perryville, was visited by officials who discussed possible plans for repairing the river’s dam and improving water flow through town.

Mayor Brian Caldwell, along with Congressman Brett Guthrie, Boyle Judge-Executive Howard Hunt, Perryville Councilman Steve Bailey and Magistrate Tom Ellis met on the river bank near the dam on Monday and saw first-hand how the 28-year-old dam had deteriorated.

“I gave them a walk through and showed them what we’ve been dealing with,” Caldwell said.

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The six-gated dam was originally built to serve two purposes — flood control and water retention, Caldwell explained.

During heavy rains and high, rushing water, the gates were designed to break away so that the river flow could be somewhat controlled. The river was also widened in the area behind Merchants Row to help hold overflow during flood conditions.

However, over the years, logs and debris have damaged the gates and they no longer open. But they do leak.

The second purpose of the dam was to retain some flow so that the waterfront through town would be nice for residents and visitors to enjoy, Caldwell said.

But the combination of dry spells and a leaky dam cause the river to turn green with algae and stagnate in pools, he added.

“It’s a mess and we need to deal with it,” Caldwell said. He hopes that the visiting government officials will be able to get an action plan in place so that the Chaplin River dam can be replaced and the river once again will be an asset for the community.

In other news, Perryville City Council sold its former city hall building at auction for $130,900 in mid August.

“We were pleased,” with the purchase price, Caldwell said. The proceeds of the sale will be deposited into the city’s general fund, he added.

Two investors from Harrodsburg purchased the property, Caldwell said.

The city decided to sell the structure because it no longer needed the building because city hall recently moved to a newer building that was donated by Monticello Bank.

Plus, maintenance of the building was costing the city nearly $10,000 a year including elevator and sprinkler inspections. It was also difficult for the city to retain a renter in the upstairs portion of the building, Caldwell said.

“In the long run, this will work out better for everyone. Plus, it’s back on the property tax roll. It’s a win win for the city.”