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Logan residents outraged over canal project

Published: Thursday, Aug. 27 2015 6:22 p.m. MDT

LOGAN — Officials are reconsidering the design of an irrigation system rebuild in the Lundstrom Park area after residents panned plans as a potential eyesore.

"It's a total misrepresentation of what we as water users along the canal expected," resident Tony Wegener said, "and we are just starting to find out what they are doing."

A joint meeting of the Logan city and Cache County councils to discuss the project's design and possible revisions is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday in the County Council chambers at the Cache County Courthouse, 199 N. Main.

Some residents are upset about the design, saying it's not what they expected.

"About a year ago, we were presented with a plan which at least physically showed an open culvert,” Logan City Councilman Herm Olsen said. "The other night, we were presented with what appeared to be a substantially modified plan."

Instead of a three-sided box culvert, the project's design calls for a 66-inch pipe mounted above head level.

Residents say the project would harm — if not destroy — the open-canal ecosystem that has developed along the 100-year-old canal.

"They want to destroy this amenity," Wegener said. "It's going to look like an abandoned railroad trestle, with just dirt."

The National Resources Conservation Service concluded after a three-year study that the best way to make the area safe would be to put the water flow in an underground pipe and keep it out of reach.

The $25 million project would redirect Logan Northern Canal water into the Logan Hyde Park Smithfield Canal just below the second dam. The combined water then would be carried in a box culvert or pipe in the Logan Hyde Park Smithfield Canal alignment to Lundstrom Park.

At the park, most of the Logan Northern Canal water would be carried into a different pipe under the park and city streets, where it would be released back into the Logan Northern Canal near 1500 North.

Part of the project would move the water from the lower canal to an upper canal, away from the site of a deadly landslide. In July 2009, the barrier around one canal on the south end of Logan broke. The rushing water wiped out a nearby home, killing a mother and her two children inside.

"There's other alternatives that we really need to look at that will meet the needs for the farmers but will also keep this historic canal, which was built over 100 years ago,” resident Susan McGregor said.

Residents also are angry that they would be paying for something that will not improve the look of the area. The project would only benefit farmers to the north, Wegener said.

"All the negatives fall on Logan city residents," he said.

Zan Murray, with J-U-B Engineering, said officials are exploring alternatives that would lower the pipe as much as possible and still meet the National Resources Conservation Service's design requirements.

Olsen said the city also is considering its options, including looking at whether Logan could withdraw its 10 percent commitment to the $25 million project.

"If engineers and other participants are willing to explore options and alternatives and compromises, then that may not be needed," he said. "If we run into a brick wall, it's one of the options we would look at."

Still, some just want the planned pipe to go away.

"I just can't imagine what Logan will be like," McGregor said. "Pretty soon, it won't have any trees because they can't get the water. It will be enclosed.”

"We're all paying for something we don't want," Wegener added.

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