Little Hope Dam is an historic piece of Waupaca that has stood in various forms for at least 160 years.
The Red Mill, Little Hope Dam and Mill Pond and Nelson Park have been tourist and resident destinations for over a century and a half. Decades ago the county government took responsibility for Little Hope Dam because it was seen as an asset for the entire county.
Some folks are against replacing the dam because they don’t want to pay for the replacement or to pay for anything that they don’t feel directly benefits them.
The reality of county government is that we all pay for county projects and services from which we don’t directly benefit, as well as paying for others that we do use. I have talked to county residents who don’t want to pay for the project because it isn’t in their community. But wouldn’t these same residents want other county residents to help pay for their community’s county-designated projects and services?
County operations would cease to exist if county supervisors only voted for projects in their own community because every county project would fail with a vote of 1 for and 26 against.
For example, the county provides county highways in every community. In some years, work on county highways directly serve just a few communities while other county highways in other communities just get basic maintenance.
We all understand that county services are provided for those who need them even though we all share the cost of those services.
The replacement of the Little Hope Dam is no different than highways, parks, public facilities and other county services of the county. It needed to be maintained or, over time, it would be damaged beyond repair.
It has become clear that the county did not maintain Little Hope Dam. Now, it hopes to use the dam’s unmaintained condition as a reason to remove it.
Instead of discarding this historic treasure, the county needs to replace Little Hope Dam because it is a county asset just like county highways, parks and buildings. It brings tourism dollars to the county and pleasure to many county residents.
There are those who have told the county to give the dam to Dayton and let the town pay to replace it. I would be surprised if you would want your town, village or city to accept the transfer of a deteriorated county road that your community needed replace or repair.
Remember, if the county can remove something many people value in the town of Dayton, it can just as easily remove something you value in your community.