In late 2020/early 2021, the US Army Corps of Engineers declared its intention to seek a new owner for the Upper Lock, a risky plan that could put the lock into the hands of a private corporation.
The Corps seeks to abandon the Lock structure, including the cost of maintenance and its responsibility for flood risk management.
Read the draft report at the US Army Corps of Engineers website.
We advocate for an alternate outcome, referred to as “partial disposition”:
• The Army Corps continues to own and maintain the Lock, sustaining its essential functions such as managing floods and ensuring a reliable drinking water supply for one million Twin Citians.
• Land around the Lock, which the Army Corps no longer needs, is transferred to the City of Minneapolis or its designee to create a community gathering place at the river.
• Lock operations and maintenance should not be in the hands of a private entity.
• It would be a regional and federal disaster to lose the St. Anthony Falls reservoir due to a failure of the dam or the cutoff wall that exists under the river – and the Lock is intrinsically tied to the dam.
• The residents, businesses and critical infrastructures of 18 cities in the region (including the airport) depend on the Upper Pool for water supply.
• Should anything go wrong, we do not have confidence that a private, non-government entity would have the wherewithal to manage and pay for repair and recovery.
• The Corps built this infrastructure. Why should they be able to walk away from it now?
• In the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, Congress directed the Army Corps to transfer the land around the Lock to the City of Minneapolis as promptly as possible. We can have improved public access and a well-maintained, trustworthy Lock.
The Army Corps opened a 60-day public comments on its recommendation, ending March 18, 2021.