The Herald Bulletin

March 27, 2013

Elwood mayor: Benefits of reservoir could reach beyond Anderson

Arnold throws his support behind proposal

By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin

ELWOOD, Ind. — Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold is the newest addition to a growing list of Mounds Lake Reservoir supporters.

In a formal statement released Wednesday, Arnold said he felt the proposal, captained by Anderson/Madison County Corporation for Economic Development executive director Rob Sparks, would “not only benefit the communities on the water,” but all people in Madison County.

Elwood is a long way from the portion of White River targeted for the reservoir — a little over 20 miles away, actually. Maps included in the proposal show the 2,100-acre reservoir beginning just east of East Lynn and 18th streets in Anderson and backing water up seven miles into Delaware County to around County Road 300 South and South High Banks Road.

But Elwood could see benefits regardless, Arnold said, through an “increase in traffic and food and beverage tax revenue.”

He points to the 25,380-acre Morse Reservoir, which seems to have had a positive economic impact on the Noblesville area. “If you look at the Morse Reservoir area you can see the impact it had in terms of property values and growth for area businesses,” he said.

Earlier this month, Sparks issued a statement, saying that although the reservoir was initially seen as an Anderson-centric project, “it has grown and now has the ability to transform not only Madison and Delaware counties but all of central Indiana.”

Not only would there be public access to the resulting Mounds Lake, but the added trails, wildlife and new homes and businesses would improve the quality of life throughout the county and region, Sparks noted.

In Elwood, Arnold sees “an increase in traffic along State Road 28, and I can see a number of business possibilities as a result of the increase in traffic into Madison County.”

He added the reservoir has the potential to slake the thirst of a short-supplied central Indiana. In an effort to stymie an impending shortage in Indianapolis, Citizens Energy Group said last week it has purchased Southern Madison Utilities LLC, which was created in 2001 by Bill Hobbs, owner of Busby Drilling Co. of Anderson.

According to Citizens spokeswoman Sarah Holsapple, the utility could need an additional 30 to 40 million gallons per day over the next 10 years to meet the city’s needs.

“We are hearing more and more about potential water shortage issues down the road,” Arnold said. “In addition to the economic benefits this project would address, the water supply issue for all of central Indiana.”

Sparks said Arnold’s support shows that the “broad base of community support for the project continue to grow,” as the process moves forward.

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook, @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter or call 648-4250.