By Scott Underwood
The Herald Bulletin
Generally, we like to verify information on the record before publishing anything. But occasionally a story comes along that is so big we feel compelled to bend the rules. In such cases, a column like mine is usually the best place to mix speculation with off-the-record information.
So, brace yourself for this.
The Herald Bulletin has learned from two sources close to the situation that the plan for Mounds Lake Reservoir is only the tip of the iceberg. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources detailed a much grander scheme and said it has initial, behind-the-scene support from officials in Madison, Delaware, Grant and Tipton counties.
According to the sources, the Mounds Lake Reservoir, which would cover 2,100 acres and stretch across seven miles from Anderson into southwestern Delaware County, would be just one of seven new lakes created. The code name for the plan, the sources said, is Yad ’Sloof Lirpa (YSL), which is Serbian for Great Lakes South.
The idea for the network of lakes sprang from a Leadership Academy class in Tipton County, where participants, including one whose parents immigrated from Serbia, were trying to top the Mounds Lake Reservoir idea that had come from a similar class in Madison County.
YSL would submerge 35,000 acres and would be easily the largest continuous body of water contained within the borders of Indiana. According to the sources, it would send property values in the four-county area skyrocketing and would turn the region into a year-round tourist destination. During warm months, the area would offer water sports such as fishing, water skiing and swimming.
Despite the cold months, YSL would still draw an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually because of a very unique feature of the middle lake. It would submerge the city of Alexandria.
But it wouldn’t drown the city. Alexandria would be preserved by a polymer dome that filters in oxygen from the surrounding water. In layman’s terms, the sources said, the dome polymer would work like a fish’s gills, only the water would flow around the outside rather than through the middle.
According to Phase I of the plan, the dome over Alexandria would make it the first fully submerged municipality in the world. The project would be the darling of the corporation developing the dome polymer.
“We can’t divulge the name of the company, but let’s just they have deep pockets,” said one of the sources, estimating that all but about $5 million of the $16.3 billion needed to encase the city underwater would be paid for by the corporation, other business interests and federal grants.
YSL would turn Alexandria into a world-renowned tourist destination, with a fleet of submarines that would take tourists down hourly to walk the streets and visit shops while aquatic life and boats pass overhead.
“People will have a negative knee-jerk reaction to this,” one of the sources scoffed. “But living underwater would be a small sacrifice to pay to usher the community into a new age.”
One other interesting note regarding this project: Yad ’Sloof Lirpa spelled backward is April Fools’ Day.
Editor Scott Underwood’s column appears Mondays. Contact him at email@example.com or 640-4845.