MOUNT PLEASANT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Wayne County commissioners scored a win Wednesday after a two-year battle over the future of a historic dam.
Two years ago, the Hankins Pond Dam in Wayne County stood in limbo. The state's original plan was to demolish all or part of the historic structure built in the 1800s.
Last year, Wayne County officials sued to halt any work done by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. After many meetings and discussions, both have agreed for the dam to be transferred over to the county.
"We will acquire ownership of the dam and about 36 acres around it. There's a remaining portion of about 73 acres on the property, which we will lease from the Fish and Boat Commission," explained Wayne County Commissioner Wendell Kay.
The county hopes to eventually make this a recreation area through state money.
The agreed-upon project will satisfy the concerns the Pennsylvania DEP raised about the structural integrity of the dam.
"The combination of the engineering that we and DEP agreed to has limited it to the smallest impact you can possibly have on the dam. It will also remove it as a high-hazard dam and therefore all of the people downstream are out of risk for flooding damage," said Wayne County Commissioner Joseph Adams.
The county and DEP have agreed to construct a pedestrian bridge atop the dam and install a retention pond and dry hydrant for local fire companies to use out in the rural area.
"They will be able to pull into the parking area, hook their pumper up to the dry hydrant, and will always have a water source there and not have to do any maintenance along the way," Adams said.
This plan does still needs unanimous approval of the Fish and Boat Commission Board and the Pennsylvania attorney general.