DALEVILLE — In the face of overwhelming opposition to the Mounds Lake project from residents in and out of Daleville, the Daleville Town Council voted unanimously not to join the Mounds Lake Commission.
The decision drew cheers from inside the town hall and outside where opponents were gathered on the lawn and listening to discussion through windows Monday evening.
With the no vote from Daleville, the Mounds Lake Commission, as it is currently written, cannot go forward. Anderson, Madison County and Chesterfield had already voted to join the commission.
“The developer has not sold this project to the community,” Daleville Town Council member Jeffery Shore said. “I can’t support what we have today.”
Voting no clearly wasn’t easy for some of the members who have been in discussions about a possible reservoir with the Mounds Lake team for almost two years. But, as council member Bill Walters put it, the council was inundated with requests to reject the commission.
“With the enormous outpouring of people who are against this motion, I cannot see how we could support adopting this ordinance,” council member Joe Scott said.
Rob Sparks, who has been leading the Mounds Lake project since its inception, said his team didn’t do a good enough job selling the people of Daleville on the lake and didn’t answer enough questions. He agreed that as the commission ordinance is written, the commission can’t continue without Daleville.
That doesn’t mean discussion about a reservoir died with the no vote Monday night. Sparks said he still believes there will be a need for water in the area in the future.
“We think we still have a viable project, that’s what the studies have demonstrated,” Sparks said afterward. “I think it’s early to say what the next steps are. The structure of the commission as it is written obviously has to change at this point. We’ll continue to do what we can.”
For now though, a team of about 100 opponents left the Monday night meeting in good spirits. After planting signs and showing up about an hour before the meeting, protesters walked in a circle on the town hall lawn chanting “Mounds Lake, big mistake.”
Helen Wean, wearing a “Don’t dam it,” shirt, said she was very pleased with the vote by the Daleville Town Council.
Wean is not a resident of Daleville but said she has gone to all the meetings, voicing her disapproval. Wean said she didn’t feel that the citizens of either county had any say in the Mounds Lake project after the commission was established, which is why she opposes it.
“The residents of our counties do not have a voice because they were not considered in the formation of the commission,” Wean said.
Wean and several others said now was the time to move forward with other possible projects such as a Mounds Greenway.
"We're not going anywhere now that this is over," Wean said. "We're still in it."
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.