GOSHEN, Ind.-- The city of Goshen is making some big changes along the Millrace Canal but first they might have to ruffle a few feathers!
On Friday, the city announced it would be lowering the water levels in the canal to make some necessary bridge repairs.
The bridge repairs are all a part of a much a much larger project to beautify the canal area. This is all a part of a federally funded initiative to clean up 22 acres across 9 different sites in downtown Goshen.
But, before the city can even start on the construction, it has to lower the water levels- an issue that usually stirs up some community reactions.
It's a peaceful path with serene sites. But beginning next week, the area will be completely under construction.
"We're currently lowering the water levels in the Millrace Canal because we're doing some repairs to the Madison Street bridge," said Mary Cripe, the Goshen city engineer.
The bridge is the closest entry way to the old Goshen street department building, the site of Goshen's newest Brownfield cleanup project.
"At the end of the day, we are cleaning up the area to be a recreational green space," said Becky Herschberger, the city Brownfield coordinator.
But, before the city can start construction on the old buildings, the bridge needs some work.
"There's some repairs that are needed in order to be able to drive a fully loaded construction vehicle across the bridge," said Cripe.
And in order to make repairs, the water level needs to be dropped about 4 ft. A procedure that usually puts canal neighbors up in arms.
"There is environmental concerns with the vegetation and the fish and the turtles and all of the habitat that's along the canal, and so it is a big concern," said Cripe.
But, neighbors we talked to said they just want to see some green space!
"It's going to be better when they get that brick building down and that block building,” said Harry Rhodes, a long time canal resident. “It's going to be nice again I think."
"We've lived on Third street for 40 years and we've really enjoyed the race and the canal,” said Jerry Roth, another long time canal resident. “We understand that they're making improvements and as long as they're making improvements, why, it might be a little inconvenient but in the long run it's all going to be worth it.”
ABC 57 did ask Cripe and Herschberger if there was another alternative to draining the canal and they said that if the water levels weren’t dropped, then construction vehicles wouldn’t be able to carry full loads across the bridge- increasing the cost of the Brownfield project and slowing down the entire process.
Herschberger said the buildings should be down and the construction finished by May.
The canal will only be drained for two weeks while a contractor makes the necessary bridge repairs.