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  • Evelyn Blunt

What's Happening With Our River?

Updated: Jan 14, 2020

If you have traveled beside the White River in the Riverside neighborhood this past year, you may have noticed that the river is looking more like a beach than the actual waterway we have all grown fond of over our lifetimes. Well, when we asked Citizens Energy Group (CEG) about this, we were told that the Emrichsville dam, located near or around 16th Street, had collapsed causing the water levels to drop at least six feet, possibly more. This dam was built in 1899 and was updated in the 1960's as part of a flood control project. In recent years, a water intake facility was built just north of Riverside High School (Old Naval Armory) that worked in conjunction with the dam to pool water into it for 60% of the city’s drinking water.

Now that the dam has collapsed, there has been talk of creating a new dam near Riverside High School, right in the heart of our community. This dam would be a rock dam and could possibly affect the water levels all along our portion of White River throughout Riverside Park. The determining factor, according to CEG, is costing: $17 million to repair the collapsed dam or $5 million to build the rock dam thereby affecting our immediate area as described above.

The questions that requires attention are Why in our neighborhood? Can funding be acquired to locate the dam further south of the park? Are there opportunities that can benefit both sides of the discussion? What we can do is be a community partner with the city and CEG to find a workable solution so that our portion of the river stays the beautiful, clean and USABLE river we have grown to love.

We can start with open, honest and informative conversations with all parties and that will start in February with the Riverside Civic League, ROW (Reconnecting Our Waterways) and the APPS (Arts, Parks and Public Spaces) committees of the Near Northwest.

Please email Ron Rice at for dates and more information. Your participation is vital to controlling what happens in our neck of the woods.

Submitted by: Arts, Parks & Public Spaces

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