The Rapidan Dam was built more than 100 years ago and has been managed by Blue Earth County since 1976. Throughout the years, the dam has experienced regular flooding–the second-highest flood on record occurring as recently as 2019. These flood events and the toll of time have caused significant damage to the dam’s structure and usability. A study was conducted for two potential options–repair or remove the dam.
With the study complete, technical evaluation in hand, and a big decision looming, the county turned to Bolton & Menk to create and execute an extensive community engagement process to gather input on the options and build consensus on the best decision for all impacted by the dam’s future. This included an online survey, public open house, social media campaign, project video, focus groups, pop-up events, sidewalk decals and signage, an online learning platform, and news stories. More than 3,000 people were impacted by this outreach, which helped inform the project decision on the future of this regional asset.