Most local residents can't fathom the expenditure of $350 million to $400 million to swamp Madison County businesses and homes with a reservoir.
So maybe understanding the nature of the proposed reservoir needs to come in dribbles.
And that's a good way, too, to wade through the vast issues facing the proposal.
Last week, the state of Indiana awarded a $600,000 grant through its Revolving Fund loan program to the local Corporation for Economic Development of Anderson/Madison County, which has been spearheading the reservoir plan. The grant will be used to complete a second, and critical, feasibility study of the Mounds Lake project.
Work to be completed under the grant involves an environmental review, engineering study, determination of community impact and a financial estimate.
As most local folks know, the reservoir would cover 2,100 acres along the White River, stretching from 18th and East Lynn streets in Anderson back to Daleville. The reservoir would provide water reserves for Indianapolis and spots northeast of there.
Most of us will withhold our full support or disdain for the plan until this study is finished. But the study is crucial in understanding the huge impact this body of water will have on our lives. That is why it is important that the funding was found.
Naturally, Hoosiers would have preferred that such a project — whether feasible or a folly — would not have required state funds. The State Revolving Fund is a loan program that provides low-interest loans to communities for projects related to improving wastewater and drinking water infrastructures. The funds come thought capitalization grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Interest rates are typically under 4 percent.
So make no mistake: this study is not being funded by private capital. But since 2001, this county has received nearly $9 million from the State Revolving Fund drinking water program helping projects in communities from Orestes to Summitville to Ingalls as well as Alexandria, Anderson, Chesterfield and Elwood.
It's too early to make a judgment but the awarding of $6000,000 will get us all closer to understanding the scope of an intriguing reservoir proposal.
In summary It's too early to judge the merits of a proposed reservoir but a $600,000 grant may lead us to a better understanding the scope of the project.