ST. CLOUD -- A group of Cold Spring property owners are tasked with deciding the future of a small dam in Cold Spring Creek.

The concrete sheet dam, located downstream of Red River Road near the intersection of 2nd Street North and 2nd Avenue North, is being considered for removal in order to return the creek to a more natural state.

On Thursday, residents with property adjacent to the affected part of the creek met with Greg Berg of Stearns County's Soil and Water Conservation District, retained by the city, to hear about possible reconstruction options and ask questions.

The project could alter the entire look, width and depth of the creek and creek bank. Some options would alter the vegetation along the creek, or involve reconstruction to create a more gradual slope between creek and shore.

For this reason, Cold Spring City Administrator Brigid Murphy says property owners are closely involved in the project's early stages.

The property owners are the ones affected, so we wanted to meet with everyone on site, talk about what the options are, and find out if there is buy-in from the homeowners.

Supporters of the dam removal project argue the dam restricts the movement of brook trout, keeping them in an area north and west of Red River Avenue, and retains sediments that increase the water's temperature.

The owners of the seven nearby properties have planned a meeting for end of September to deliberate before presenting their thoughts to the Cold Spring City Council in October.