Nonprofit buying four dams from bankrupt Boyce Hydro

MIDLAND (AP) — A nonprofit will pay $1.58 million for four hydroelectric dams, including one that failed last spring and unleashed a deluge on downtown Midland, it announced Wednesday.

The Four Lakes Task Force is buying the Edenville, Sanford, Smallwood and Secord dams. from bankrupt Boyce Hydro, reported.

The quasi-governmental task force said it expects to take control of the dams in December. It received authority in 2018 from Midland and Gladwin counties to purchase and maintain the four dams on the Tobacco and Tittabawassee rivers.

“The settlement is not about the value of the property, or fairness, but it is the best deal we could get to allow the community to extract itself from the legacy of Boyce’s ownership and move forward,” the task force said.

The settlement stems from condemnation proceedings initiated by the task force, which began taking steps in July to obtain the dams through eminent domain.

The task force was in the process of buying the dams from Boyce for $9.4 million when several days of heavy rainfall in May resulted in a collapse  of the dam in Edenville, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Detroit.

The settlement must be approved by courts in Midland and Gladwin counties and a federal judge presiding over a bankruptcy case filed by Boyce Hydro this summer.

The task force says the bulk of the money will end up paying off Boyce creditors.

Boyce Hydro owner Lee Mueller of Nevada filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August.

Larry Kogan, an attorney for Boyce, called the deal with the task force a “prudent decision” that allows the group to begin winterizing the dams before bad weather arrives.

“The settlement is a necessary step in the bankruptcy and condemnation process,” Kogan said. “It was a positive development.”