RUMFORD (AP) — The Maine Land Use Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing on a hydropower company’s proposal to rebuild a dam. The hearing’s set for March 19 in Rumford.

Brookfield White Pine Hydro proposes a complete renewal of its Middle Dam, which was originally built in the 1850s and supports recreational activities including fishing on nearby Richardson Lake in western Maine.

Middle Dam is located at the southwest portion of Lower Richardson Lake in Township C where the lake drains into the Rapid River. Middle Dam supports the water levels of Upper and Lower Richardson Lakes, which influence recreational uses and are controlled by federal license.

The company says the dam has gone through numerous construction efforts but doesn’t meet Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requirements.

The company says a complete renewal of the dam could take five years and is the most structurally sound option in the long-term.

Some critics, including Maine and New Hampshire residents, have expressed concern that the proposal could negatively impact the surrounding economy and access to fishing.

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