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Posted on: September 26, 2019

Wayne County Signs Agreement to Take Over Hankins Pond Dam

A downstream view of the dam at Hankins Pond in Mount Pleasant Township

HONESDALE – The Wayne County Commissioners signed a settlement agreement in the Hankins Pond Dam injunction case that has been fully executed by the PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC), which owns the land, and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which called for a 100+ foot breach in the high hazard dam for downstream safety.  A smaller breach had already been cut from the Delaware & Hudson Canal-era dam in 2013.

In the settlement, the PFBC agreed to transfer ownership of approximately 36 acres of the current 109.7-acre parcel in Mount Pleasant Township, which includes the actual Hankins Dam structure, to the County of Wayne. The County and DEP have agreed to construct a 24-foot-wide breach, place a pedestrian bridge at the top of this opening and construct/create a fire protection catch basin and install a dry hydrant for use by local fire and rescue departments.

This agreed-upon project will satisfy DEP's safety concerns, and the PFBC will then enter into a long-term lease with the County for the remaining acreage, approximately 73 acres, for future recreational development. The final agreement will need the official unanimous approval of the PA Fish & Boat Commission Board and the PA Attorney General.

To that end, Wayne County has submitted a Local Share – Monroe County Grant (casino proceeds) application to the Department of Community and Economic Development to assist in the required rehabilitation and re-construction.  The County also plans to use funds from ACT 13 – Impact Fees the County receives as a non-gas drilling county, which are reserved for recreation and open space activities.

The County, local Legislators and many concerned citizens have been working together since the Governor’s Office announced in 2016 that funds for the remediation of the Hankins Pond Dam were released.  After exhausting informal negotiations and discussions, the County filed a Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County on Sept. 7, 2018 to halt the demolition of the dam. The agreement reached today will preserve the historic integrity of the Hankins Pond Dam and provide recreational as well as educational and historical education opportunities for future generations of Wayne County residents and visitors.

Some 1,200 local residents signed a petition in the summer of 2018 asking the PA Fish & Boat Commission to Save Hankins Pond Dam.

Hankins Pond, and the dam that created it, were built as part of a system of impoundments that provided water to the D&H Canal dry weather and were considered an intricate part of its operation. Under county protection, the site can tell another chapter of the D&H story in Wayne County.

The property, once conveyed to the Fish & Boat Commission, had been used as part of the State Fish Hatchery in Pleasant Mount.

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