The Herald Bulletin

September 14, 2013

Editorial: Sale could bring peace for Mallard Lake

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Could Mallard Lake ever be peaceful?

Madison County residents have been asking that question for decades. Would the anger and annoyance over a controversial landfill ever be resolved enough so neighbors could live in peace or at least in tolerance of what the site could become?

Solitude may be around the bend.

This week, Bex Farms, an affiliate of Best Way Disposal, purchased the 264-acre site. The terms of the sale were not disclosed, though it would be wise for Best Way to be completely transparent about the sale and its intent. The sale includes a valid permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which is good through early 2015, to build a landfill on 13 acres of the property.

Well, there was a moment of solitude.

But the company said in a press release — no person's name was connected to it, so again residents must wonder — that it had no plans to build the landfill. Best Way, located on West 66th Street in Anderson, must know well of the controversy.

Local businessman Ward Stilson sold the Mallard Lake farm to Ralph Reed in 1979 as an investment for the Stilson family trust. Reed hoped to turn the property into a landfill. There have been 15 legal challenges to building the landfill, claiming it posed a risk in contaminating Killbuck Creek and nearby wells which supply water to Anderson.

Ralph Reed died last year at the age of 84. The Reeds decided to sell the land.

It amounted to three decades of uneasy living for nearby residents.

They can only hope now that Best Way becomes one of their best neighbors.

The company said its immediate plans are to rent the "tillable land" to local farmers.

That uneasy feeling is coming back.

The company will "explore opportunities with local governments and other interested parties for other uses of the property including sale, lease or development," it said in a news release that also noted the company would not be holding a press conference to discuss the sale.

Residents are to take the company at its word. Let's hope none of the wording in Best Way's announcement is legalese intended to throw off wary residents.

The threat of a landfill has to stop and Best Way, if it wants to hold onto to its spot as a truthful business, has to simply state that the land will never — as long as it is involved — become a landfill.

Honesty is expected of good neighbors, particularly when those neighbors have undergone three decades of legal battles and controversy.

In summary The sale of the Mallard Lake landfill site can be a sign of relief for neighbors, if the buyer is truthful.