After city officials decided to remove Cape’s Dam last week, residents have started a petition opposing the action.
City residents have expressed concerns that the removal of the dam would negatively affect Stokes Park, which features green space centered around the San Marcos River. Additionally, the park serves as an opportunity to tube and kayak on the popular portion of the water.
Residents need 4,000 signatures before June 10 for the issue to be put on the ballot in November.
It would cost about $35,000 for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove the dam. City officials would not have to pay, but must agree not to rebuild the dam. Replacing the dam would cost the city more than $1 million.
Research conducted by the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment has found upstream water levels would not be affected by the dam’s removal, and downstream water levels would reach about 3-4 feet.
However, San Marcos citizens and residents of the Woods, an apartment complex marketed around allowing tenants to live on the river, have expressed concerns.
Stokes Park is an attraction for the complex’s residents, who are worried removing the dam would negatively impact the area.
Ben Kvanli, owner of Olympic Outdoor Center kayaking school near Stokes Park, said he is a strong advocate for keeping the river open.
Kvanli said city officials aren’t in favor of having any college apartments by the river and it seems they are trying to close the part behind the Woods out of spite.
“The folks that complain about everything complained about the Woods and they now want to fence the apartment complex off and divert all of the water to the other side of the island, away from the Woods,” Kvanli said.
Volunteers have even been working with “Keep San Marcos Beautiful” and other organizations by picking up the waste and making the area safe again.
“It is very frustrating that I have now volunteered two of my weekends towards picking up trash and helping restore the river but it still remains closed,” said Amy Diaz, psychology junior and volunteer. “I don’t want them to make any more changes. I simply just want my river back.”