The Herald Bulletin

March 28, 2013

It takes an army of workers to build a reservoir

Local contractors support project

By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — From demolition crews, dam builders and earth movers, to telecommunication experts and information technology professionals, an army of workers would be needed over years to build the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir.

It’s far too early in the process of evaluating even if the $350 million to $400 million reservoir can be built to know when that corps of professionals might be hired. Or who would do the hiring.

So hold off on those job applications.

Bill Fredericks, president of Fredericks Inc., a Pendleton contractor, was among the reservoir’s first public supporters. But he doesn’t harbor aspirations of getting rich from the lake.

A construction company far larger than his with a much wider variety of skill sets will be needed for building. Not to mention a construction management firm to coordinate the millions of details that go along with bringing a huge public works project from conception to completion.

“I never said I was supporting this for me and my own business,” Fredericks said. “I just think it would be good for Anderson and Madison County.”

A project of this scope would require construction companies with expertise in earthwork, bridges, roads, trails, buildings, structural concrete, material provision and utilities (both new and relocates), said Jonathan LaTurner, department manager at DLZ, an engineering consulting firm with offices in Indianapolis, which prepared a preliminary feasibility study of the project.

In addition, there would be a need for companies that specialize in wetland and environmental mitigation; real estate professionals, appraisers and surveyors; recreation and timber specialists, landscape companies and telecommunications and information technology experts, he added.

Fredericks said companies like his would most likely benefit from the new houses that would need to be built and new and replacement retail space.

Terry McCardwell is a Pendleton resident and owner of GDI Construction. Earlier this year his company finished a manufacturing plant for Greenville Technology Inc., which supplies automotive parts for Honda.

“I would say we’re very supportive of the project,” McCardwell said of the reservoir. “We’ve been very fortunate to have done quite a bit of work in Anderson over the past several years. ... I think the project is a potential game changer for the city of Anderson.”

He said construction of the reservoir would create a lot of jobs and have a positive impact on the community on its own.

“Ancillary construction would be equally outstanding,” he predicted. All you have to do is look at the building that’s occurred at Geist and Morse reservoirs.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.