ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - Economic development officials are proposing a
reservoir on the White River about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis that
would be a catalyst for new investments and jobs and would include marinas,
boat docks and restaurants.
“I think we have a good chance to get this project done if we have the
political will,” Rob Sparks, the Madison County Corporation for Economic
Development director, told The Herald Bulletin.
Rob Freestone, a Chesterfield Town Council member said officials there are
excited about the prospect. Town Clerk Deborah Dunham sees empty storefronts
being replaced with thriving businesses. Throughout the area, many officials
are at least interested in hearing more about the plan.
"At this point I am super positive about this,” Anderson City Council
President David Eicks said. “I think it has the ability to reshape Anderson,
Chesterfield, Daleville and Delaware County.”
Delaware County Commissioner Sherry Riggin called the proposed seven-mile
long, 2,100-acre reservoir “very interesting,” but said she’s concerned
about how relocations would be handled.
The Mounds Lake Reservoir would cost an estimated $300 million to $350
million to create. Sparks said the next step in the proposal process will be
a series of public meetings for each of the affected taxing units. The
meetings likely will be scheduled within 30 days, he said.
Sparks said in addition to spurring economic growth, the reservoir also
could help relieve the impact of floods and drought throughout a
400-square-mile area of the White River’s watershed.
Sparks estimated that it would displace about 400 homes, as well as several
hundred thousand square feet of retail business space. Eminent domain could
eventually be invoked to bring the project to fruition, but Sparks stressed
that a strong community consensus is needed for the plan to succeed.
The owners of a mall and a restaurant that would both be displaced by the
reservoir issued statements Friday in favor of the plan.
The idea was first suggested by Ricker Oil Co. President and CEO Quinn
Ricker during a Leadership Academy of Madison County class in 2010. Sparks
was also a participant in that class. Ricker concedes he thought the idea
was “nutty” when he first suggested it. But two weeks later, Sparks told him
the concept, while massive, difficult and costly, was worthy of study.