LYONS, Mich. (AP) — Contractors have started deconstructing a 160-year-old dam on the Grand River in Lyons.

Workers removed the top 2 feet of the 9-foot-high Lyons Dam on Wednesday, MLive (http://bit.ly/2ak0OhF ) reported.

Village president Jack Proctor said two more feet will come down Thursday as it's gradually removed over the next several days.

"It's coming down really smooth," said Proctor. "I don't think we'll see much of a difference downstream."

The dam's removal is the culmination of an emergency repair operation that began last month after the western edge of the dam failed and began eroding a bluff where houses stood. The erosion also threatened the only highway bridge crossing the Grand River.

The project drew a crowd of onlookers Wednesday.

"I'm kind of excited about it," said Joe Farrington, a Lyons resident. "It'll make for better fishing, better tubing and in a year or two it'll make for good boating. It'll be best for the environment and best for the village."

Muir resident Ed Blyth said he believes the removal of the dam will improve the river.

"It has to be done. The dam was condemned and there was no economical way to repair it," Blyth said. "I think when the vegetation grows back, I think it will be nicer."

The dam has been a fixture in Lyons since 1857, when residents created a dam with cobblestones and timber in order to power a flour mill. Consumers Power Co. built a hydroelectric plant in 1913 to use the power generated by the falling water.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com