By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
As they voted for a resolution to support a second phase of study for the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir Thursday night, members of the Anderson City Council pledged that they will not forget about residents who might be displaced by the project.
“One of my main concerns is how dislocated residents will be taken care of,” said Councilwoman Pamela Jones, D-District 3. “I want them to be handled properly.”
Jones said people who are forced to move should have the opportunity to live in a house that’s exactly the same as the one they might be forced to leave.
“It think it’s important that we take care of our citizens,” she added.
Councilwoman Donna Davis, D-District 2, echoed that sentiment. She represents the area of Anderson that would be most affected by the proposed lake.
According the initial proposal, approximately 400 resident property owners and businesses would be flooded if the reservoir is built.
“I’d love to see a lake, but let’s protect the little people that have no power and influence,” Davis said.
Because of the impact on her constituents, Davis said she would like a seat on the regional commission that proponents envision would control the project’s development.
However, Rob Sparks, executive director of the Anderson-Madison Corporation for Economic Development, said it’s too early in the process to begin discussing commission membership.
From its dam head just west of Scatterfield Road in Anderson, the reservoir would back water up seven miles to Delaware County Road 300 South and encompass 2,100 acres.
According to preliminary estimates, the project would cost between $300 million and $400 million to build. Its primary purpose would be to supplement the Indianapolis metropolitan area’s water needs.
The resolution adopted by the City Council is simply an expression of support for a second more detailed study that will closely examine costs, engineering and environmental issues, and begin community planning meetings, according to Sparks. The cost of that study has been pegged at about $300,000.
David Clute, who lives is a subdivision along South Rangeline Road, said he is concerned about lake depth and proximity to homes in his neighborhood. He’s worried that some of it might become a swamp.
Sparks assured him that those are the kind of issues that will be explored in the next study.
The idea was first suggested by Ricker Oil Co. President and CEO Quinn Ricker during a Leadership Academy of Madison County class in 2010. Sparks was a member of that same class.
Ricker told members of the council that communities get to consider an opportunity like Mounds Lake perhaps once every 100 years.
The lake would change the landscape of east central Indiana, he said, making the area not only a tourist destination, but place where people would want to come, settle down and raise their families.
“Anderson is a great place,” he said. “I think it would be an exceptional world-class small city.”
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