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Editorial: Put your opinions to work

There is a message bombarding River Falls residents. It's played at the Kwik Trip pumps on "gas station TV." Social media is filled with it. Signs are dotting yards. The Journal has proudly been a community forum for much discussion on the topic, through columns, viewpoints and letters to the editor.

Can you guess what it is?

That's right, it's the fate of the Kinnickinnic River and its two controversial dams. There is no question this topic is important to many, whether they are for the dams' removal or against. It should be important to all River Falls residents, who are being given an opportunity to be heard.

Many community governments make decisions such as this without community input. Hard to believe, right? But it's true. Luckily, that's not the case here.

On Oct. 25, the Kinni Corridor Planning Committee will begin a four-day charrette, which is defined as "an intensive series of community workshops, design labs, open houses, and presentations." Those who care about the Kinni are invited to participate as much as possible. The committee urges citizens to visit kinnicorridor.org to view the schedule and a toolkit, which includes six Tech Talk presentations, studies, research and more.

Whether you are for the dam removal or against it, you need to take part. Change is rarely easy and it can't be done if we don't work together. No matter the outcome, it will be a product of collaboration, dedication, passionate views and careful thought.

According to a letter from the Kinni Corridor Planning Committee, published in last week's Journal, "A variety of alternative design concepts will emerge from the charrette. These concepts will help the Committee evaluate three scenarios related to the future of the City's existing hydroelectric facilities:

• relicensing our two hydroelectric facilities and keeping both dams;

• surrendering our license and removing both dams; and

• relicensing the hydro facility at Junction Falls and keeping the dam, and surrendering the hydro facility at Powell Falls and removing the dam."

In February, the Committee will recommend one of the scenarios to the City Council; the decision is scheduled for the Feb. 27, 2018, Council meeting.

Take the passion poured out in letters to the editor, on Facebook, at Tech Talks and in face-to-face conversations and pour your ideas into the charrette. Show how much you really love the Kinni by taking part. Don't let your action be idle words. Every voice matters.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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