By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
CHESTERFIELD, Ind. —
Town officials here have high hopes the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir will be transformative.
Town Council Monday night unanimously supported a resolution to move forward with a more detailed study of the project.
“We’ll have the best exit off the interstate,” said Town Councilman Jerry Fields of the proposed reservoir. “It will also help property values. Maybe it will make Chesterfield a place where people want to live ... but it’s early.”
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 next phase of study will cost an estimated $300,000.
As currently proposed, no homes or businesses in Chesterfield would be flooded by the lake, said Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Dunham.
Except for Steve Foster’s Timberline Valley RV Resort.
He figures he’d be left with just five of nearly 79 acres, if the lake is built.
Nevertheless, “I’m 150 percent for it,” said Foster, who recently met for an hour with Rob Sparks, executive director of the Anderson-Madison County Corporation for Economic Development. “I’m not one to sit back and be idle.”
While Dunham has visions of populating empty houses and filling vacant downtown businesses, Foster is thinking of the possibilities, like condominiums.
It’s far too early to begin hiring architects and contractors, of course, but many people in the several communities are thinking about that sort of development potential.
“You can engineer anything, and you can clean up any contamination,” said Sparks after the Town Council’s vote. “But you can’t buy public will. It has to be there.”
Sparks has spent much of his time since unveiling the reservoir in March building public will for the project.
He’s met privately with affected property owners in Anderson, briefed business groups and elected leaders, and been the lead speaker at three public meetings in April.
He’s consistently compared the effort to running a marathon with hurdles.
The next hurdle is a phase two study that would explore environmental issues and develop a more detailed cost estimate for the project, examine traffic issues and being a process of planning land use around the lake.
On Thursday, the Anderson City Council will take up an identical resolution.
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