Goshen’s millrace canal is a community treasure that ignited and drove the early development of Goshen after it was built by hands and hooves in the 1860s. It turned mill wheels, drove factory gears and spun electrical turbines. It is now again a driving force for the community (if not quite so literally this time around). But while the horses and hand-shovelers that built the canal in the 19th century did an amazing job, they were well short of 21st century engineering specs. The levy is now leaking.
These leaks compromise stability and present a potential flooding and safety hazard. Thus far two repair options (or some mix thereof) have been considered by the city officials. The first is steel pilings like those by the Plymouth pedestrian underpass. These would cost many millions of dollars. In some (long) time, they would rust and deteriorate. The second, which is also expensive, but less so, is clearing all of the trees and vegetation on the west side of the trail, then bringing in a large amount of earth to regrade the west bank to a shallower slope. The winding, wooded nature trail would become an unsheltered stretch atop a bald berm.
Both of these options have enormous drawbacks. As such, I hope we will not be too quick to pick our poison. Let’s step back and brainstorm some other ideas. Later on we can whittle down the pool and carefully evaluate their merits. I’ll offer one idea: Stabilizing the levy on the water side by narrowing the waterway and widening the levy eastward, and/or installing a liner. Could something like that work? I don’t know. Maybe someone else has a better idea yet. I hope so. Our millrace canal and trail are worth putting our heads together for.