Briggs Mill Dam Breach Update

On Sunday morning, the Briggs Mill Dam was breached due to the substantial rainfall. Crews were called in to secure the scene. The pedestrian bridge traversing the dam will continue to be closed for the foreseeable future.

The Village is actively working with our consultants, engineers, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Natural Resources, and others to stabilize the remainder of the dam and evaluate the impacts of the dam’s failure. We are looking at both short term and permanent solutions for repairing the dam. Contractors will begin staging the area for repair work Tuesday morning. As public safety is our primary concern, we ask for your patience as we work to restore the Briggs Pond/La Cantina Basin area and to please avoid any areas closed for construction.

A message from Village President Roman Plaszczak:

As you may know, the Briggs Mill Dam at the south end of Maple Lake breached on Sunday morning, October 15, 2017. This was due to the heavy rainfall that has been reported to exceed eight inches.

The Briggs pond dam is over 100 years old and controls the water flow of the south branch of the Paw Paw River as it comes into the lake. The dam on the north end of the lake controls the outgoing flow. The river then goes on a winding path that eventually takes it into the Benton Harbor-St. Joe area where it joins with other bodies of water that flow into Lake Michigan.

As soon as the break in the dam occurred, the Village took action by opening the flood gates wider at the dam at the north end of the lake to help prevent flooding along with making notifications to various agencies in order to protect both lives and property. This included police, fire, and Van Buren County emergency preparedness personnel among others. In addition, press releases were put out and interviews held with members of the press to try to notify the public of what was going on.

The next day, Monday, October 16, meetings were held with two representatives of the Department of Environmental Quality, a representative of the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, the Van Buren County Drain Commissioner, County Office of Emergency Management, representatives of a contractor, and a representative of the engineering firm that the Village uses along with Village staff to discuss and plan for an immediate action toward mitigating the dam breach. Work can begin on the dam when clearance is received from the MDEQ which is expected to happen post haste. In the meantime, arrangements are being made to prepare the site which will be the parking lot next to Briggs Pond for the construction equipment and materials.

Even though the breach occurred, there have been no reports of damage to property or any injuries and there is no danger to the public safety or health. All precautions are being taken and it is anticipated that action will be promptly taken to restore things back to normal. Hopefully this answers questions that people may have, if there are further questions, please call the Village at 269-675-3148. Updates will be posted on the homepage of our website as more information is available.

Electric System Study and Rate Modifications

The Village recently completed a comprehensive review of its electrical system focusing on its assets, conditions, and recommendations for replacements and upgrades to improve reliable electric power to our customers. We are also increasing electric rates for the first time in 14 years to ensure we are able to support future system improvements, regular maintenance, and equitably distribute the system cost among customers. Information about the system study as well as new rates which go into effect October 1, 2017 may be found below:

Paw Paw Laundry Environmental Response
The DEQ has prepared a FACT SHEET regarding the cleanup work that will be starting at the former Paw Paw Laundry Site this month. This is a fairly significant project for the DEQ, the village, and the residents. The DEQ appreciates the assistance and cooperation of the many parties involved. To view the fact sheet click on this link: PP Laundry Fact Sheet.


Village of Paw Paw Wastewater System Improvement Projects

The Village of Paw Paw is currently embarking on improvements to its Wastewater Collection System within the Village.  The projects will greatly improve the handling of storm water runoff, sanitary sewer treatment and water supply service.  We appreciate your patience throughout these projects.  For more information on each project, please visit

Uncork Paw Paw ~ A Village to Discover:  Friendly, Familiar, Nearby

Paw Paw Village was established in 1859. In 1867, the Village and Township were named after the river, so named by the indigenous population from the paw paw fruit that grew thickly along the river's banks.  (Paw Paw Village and Paw Paw Township).  Paw Paw is located in the heart of Michigan’s wine country. This full service community is home 3,534 and is the county seat for Van Buren County. Paw Paw is home to St. Julian Winery, Michigan’s oldest, largest and most awarded winery. Many other great businesses and restaurants call Paw Paw home. (Business List and Map)   Residents and visitors alike enjoy a full-service community with its own electric, water and sanitary sewer utilities, full-time police department, a joint fire department, and over 100 acres of park land; all situated around picturesque Maple Lake.  Paw Paw meets the new economy needs by providing broadband fiber optic service to each property.  Wireless service is also available. Located on the I-94 route connecting Detroit and Chicago, Paw Paw is only minutes away from Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Grand Rapids.  A large consumer demand of more than 114,300 households within 30 minutes of Paw Paw makes Paw Paw attractive for entrepreneurs.  Terrific schools, great festivals and lakeside concerts, and unique ‘third-places’ makes Paw Paw a great place to live or visit.  There are several great annual events in Paw Paw, but the Wine and Harvest Festival is the premier 3-day event for the whole family.  Paw Paw’s an ideal setting for millennials, those raising a family, or those relaxing through retirement.

Wondering why you might want to locate your family or your business in the Village of Paw Paw?  Wonder no more. Click here.

Financial data on the Village of Paw Paw is available online. To view the data please click on the link at the end of this paragraph. Once you are on that page, click on the word "municipalities" in the top bar. When that page comes up, type in "Village of Paw Paw" in the search bar and click on search. That will bring you to the Village of Paw Paw data page. Thank you for taking the time to review this information. To access this data, click here.
2015-2016 Annual Report
Final 2017-2021 Parks & Rec Plan
Village 2017-2018 Fiscal Year Budget

Village 2017-2018 FY Budget

Paw Paw’s Non Discrimination & English Language Proficiency Plan:

Paw Paw compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 including Executive Order 13166: Improving Access to Service for Persons with Limited English Proficiency[i], prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, in any program, service or activity that receives federal assistance. Specifically, Title VI assures that, “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal assistance.” The Executive Order assures access to language assistance for individuals who do not speak English well and who have a limited ability to read, write and speak, or understand English. (click here) to view Paw Paw’s Plan.

The executive order verbatim can be found online (click here)

pdf of "verbatim" (click here)

All files on this site are in pdf form
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