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The Case for Joining Mounds Lake Commission

mounds-lake-meetingDuring the next few weeks, local governments will decide whether to join the Mounds Lake Commission, a proposed decision-making body that will chart the future of Mounds Lake Reservoir.

It’s an important next step toward construction of the controversial 11-billion-gallon reservoir that will stretch nearly seven miles from downtown Anderson to Yorktown and cost an estimated $440 million. For the people of Madison and Delaware counties, much is at stake concerning the reservoir’s fate, including a way of life for potentially thousands of people. That’s why we believe local government units should vote to join the commission.

According to a FAQ on the Mounds Lake website, the commission “consist(s) of representatives from each of the impacted government bodies within Delaware and Madison counties. The role of the commission will be to oversee and direct the process to advance the Mounds Lake project.”

Having a seat at the table ensures local interests — for or against the project — are heard and concerns can be voiced. A vote to join the commission is not an endorsement of Mounds Lake, and it does not commit any government unit to building it, but it does keep local government apprised of the project’s progress. Local government can withdraw from the commission at any time.

The commission is necessary in order to move ahead with Phase 3 of the project, which is expected to last up to three years. It’s here that more details of environmental impacts, water usage, economic impacts, construction details and costs will be determined. We would expect many of the questions that have arisen in a Phase 2 study would be definitively answered in Phase 3.

Both sides in the debate — proponent with Anderson’s Corporation for Economic Development and opposing group Heart of the River — have made good arguments for and against the reservoir. And both sides agree there are significant hurdles to clear before the first shovel of dirt is moved — if it ever gets that far.

Mounds Lake has the potential to alter significantly — and forever — the environmental and economic landscape of East Central Indiana. It could offer insurance as a water supply for industrial and residential usage. Recreation opportunities could be significantly enhanced in an area that is sorely lacking. And it could potentially kick start new economic opportunities.

It also threatens valuable and irreplaceable wetlands and farmland, and it would alter a free-flowing river. Mounds Lake could adversely affect farm drainage and runoff, and there is a question of how valuable an asset it would be for Delaware County with talk of shallow water and the need for another dam to control sediment. It’s possible, but uncertain, that what’s good for Madison County might be much less so for Delaware. All the more reason for local government to have a seat at the table by joining the commission.

Plus, no discernible market for the water behind the dam has been demonstrated so far, and there is a big question over whether costs to build the reservoir are accurate, especially in the realm of cost overruns.

These are no small concerns. We believe it is technically possible to build the reservoir, but the question becomes: Does it make sense? Is it the right choice for East Central Indiana?

Only by serving on the Mounds Lake Commission can those questions be fully answered.

Not to be a part of that process would short circuit the people who are potentially affected the most by the project.

Source: The Star Press

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The Town of Daleville is located in Delaware County where I-69, Ind. 67 and Ind. 32 converge.

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Daleville, IN 47334
Phone: (765) 378-6288

Daleville, Indiana