Boyce Hydro gives up ownership of dams to lakefront property owners

Four Lakes Task Force now has ownership control of Edenville, Sanford, Secord and Smallwood dams
It has been almost four months since the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams. The...
It has been almost four months since the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams. The resulting catastrophic flooding caused around $175 million in damage. But that amount is just a chunk of what the Four Lakes Task Force estimates will cost to rebuild the dams and restore Wixom and Sanford Lakes.(WJRT)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 4:06 PM EST
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - The owner of two dams that failed in Mid-Michigan last May, causing historic flooding along the Tittabawassee River, relinquished control of its property to lakefront property owners.

The Four Lakes Task Force announced Wednesday that a deal has been completed for Boyce Hydro to cede ownership of its property to Gladwin and Midland counties, which will hold it on behalf of the task force.

The deal includes the Edenville, Sanford, Secord and Smallwood dams. They hold back water on the Tittabawassee and Tobacco rivers to create Wixom, Sanford, Secord and Smallwood lakes.

The Edenville and Sanford dams failed in May, sending a torrent of water down the Tittabawassee River and causing historic floods in Midland and downstream toward Saginaw. Boyce Hydro filed for bankruptcy shortly after the floods and the task force announced plans to obtain the property.

The property transfer announced Wednesday requires the Four Lakes Task Force to pay more than $1.5 million.

  • $270,000 goes to Boyce Michigan, the previous owner.
  • $152,000 goes to vendors with liens on Boyce property.
  • $1.15 million will go to U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which will split it between Byline Bank, lawyers and the bankruptcy trustee.

The Four Lakes Task Force receives funding from a special assessment of properties around the lakes behind each of the four dams. Three of five class action lawsuits against the task force have been dropped and the organization has been included in an insurance settlement trust releasing it from future liability.

With ownership of the four dams secured, the Four Lakes Task Force can continue planning a massive project to upgrade the existing dams and rebuild the failed sections. Estimates show the project will take about five years and cost about $338 million.

Property owners around the four lakes will pay about $1,500 to more than $3,000 more per year in taxes for the project. However, the Four Lakes Task Force hopes to obtain grants or government assistance to reduce the cost for homeowners.

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