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Daleville vote kills Mounds Lake project

An overflow crowd that left about 100 people on the outside looking in filled Daleville Town Hall Monday, when the town council voted against the controversial Mounds Lake project.

Many people were turned away after an early-arriving crowd filled the building to capacity.

Monday’s meeting saw the vote on the controversial Mounds Lake project, a proposed reservoir that would stretch from Anderson into Delaware County. After deciding not to vote at the Aug. 10 meeting, council members killed the bill, with all five council members voting no to adopt the ordinance.

Chesterfield and Madison County officials had earlier voted in support of the next phase, which was projected to need $28 million in funding for further study.

But at Daleville’s August meeting, before a crowd that spilled out of the Daleville Junior-Senior High School cafetorium, the council heard an hour’s worth of public comments, most of them in opposition to the project. That, apparently, led to Monday’s decision to vote no.

The crowd that packed the hall, and eventually influenced the council to vote no, was a welcome site for organization heads of the 14 organizations openly opposing the project.

“To the council’s credit they had a large venue for public comment,” Tim Maloney of the Hoosier Environmental Council said. The need for everyone to be in the room during the vote wasn’t needed, he said.

It was a long-awaited vote, with both the Daleville and Yorktown councils opting not to vote on the project during their August meetings.

“After two years of time we had questions that needed answers, and those questions didn’t get answers,” council member Bill Walters said. “The citizens spoke and we are about to see that result.”

The no vote was met with a loud boom of applause and cheer from the dozens waiting both inside and outside.

The vote, however, came with a concern from Town Council President Tom Roberts.

“If we vote no on this we are afraid we won’t see any of the opposition again. We are afraid we won’t ever see this trail you are proposing,” said Roberts.

The opposition said they are not going anywhere.

In counter to president Roberts’ warning, Maloney, the Hoosier Environmental council and many others will continue to push for the Greenway project by securing resources and seeing how they can implement the project.

“Once those advocating its damming turn their focus to other, hopefully positive, economic development opportunities, we look forward to focusing our full energies on working to make the Mounds Greenway a reality in Madison and Delaware counties,” said Marian Osborne Berky, a representative with Heart of the River.

For Rob Sparks, head of Anderson’s Corporation for Economic Development, the night was a setback, but not a loss.

“Obviously our outreach in Delaware County was short and we need to redouble our efforts,” Sparks said. A no vote in Daleville hasn’t totally killed the notion of a reservoir. It may, like several months ago, just be rewritten to not include those that don’t support the project.

“We think we still have a viable project … but obviously the structure of the commission as it was written needs to change.”

But it’s too early to tell what those changes are, Sparks said.

“We will continue to do what we can and see where we can go with the project,” Sparks said.

When asked why they thought the project didn’t pass, it was information.

“I think there was a gap in the information,” said Sparks.

For council member Jeff Shore, it was the developer’s job to sell the project and the CED simply didn’t do that. Shore said that without the support of the town, the council simply wouldn’t support the project.

Members of the opposition are ready for the CED to return, and will be countering any further attempts by putting their momentum into the White River Greenway project.

Yorktown will not have to officially vote on the project, but members of the opposition would still like to see a united front against the project.

“We would still really like to see Yorktown take a stance on the issue,” Hanson said.

Roberts also agreed, stating that they are the only municipality in the county to not take a position on the project.

“I understand that if I were in their position I might just say that ‘Well Daleville killed the project that is it’ but it would be nice if they actually took a stance,” Roberts said.

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 Town Hall
8019 S Walnut St
Daleville, IN 47334
Phone: (765) 378-6288

Daleville, Indiana