The Herald Bulletin

March 14, 2013

Business owners say reservoir idea is all wet

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — The proposal to create a 2,000-acre reservoir that would put the Mounds Mall area under water sounds like bad business to area merchants interviewed Thursday.

Even if his business didn’t go under water literally, it would do so figuratively, said Coin Express co-owner Stephen Hughes.

Hughes’ store is at 2018 S. Scatterfield Road, right on the edge of the proposed reservoir area that would stretch seven miles through Anderson, Chesterfield and Daleville.

“I don’t want all the businesses knocked out of here,” Hughes’ wife and co-owner, Jeannie, said. “Anderson already has enough problems.”

Businesses are leaving, she said, and the focus should be on keeping them here and bringing new ones in — not destroying or relocating them to put in a reservoir.

Proponents of Mounds Lake Reservoir say it could help promote economic development, meet future growth demands and alleviate drought conditions.

Stephen said he can see more expensive houses than new businesses being built near the water.

“I do not see where putting a commercial area, a residential area ... under water is economic development,” said a Stone Age co-owner, who asked that her name not be used. Stone Ages sells smoking paraphernalia.

The Stone Age co-owner said she’s curious about why the reservoir is not being proposed for another, less-populated area — rather than an area where many small businesses have invested money. She’s also concerned about the impact on history at Mounds State Park and on the Anderson Municipal Airport.

“It would kill the rest of Anderson,” she said. “I don’t see how it’s possible.”

Another store owner in the complex near Roses department store said he’d likely go out of business if the reservoir became reality. He noted that he and other merchants would not be able to afford rent at retail locations closer to Interstate-69.

A reservoir might be a good idea, he noted, but not where it’s being proposed. “It would definitely wipe out jobs and create economic destruction,” said the store owner, who asked that neither he nor his business be identified.

Mounds Mall and Mounds State Park are expected to release statements today.

Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.