The Anderson City Council will convene a special meeting Thursday evening at 6 p.m. with one item on the agenda – to consider establishing and joining a proposed Mounds Lake Commission.
The commission is the next step in the process leading to the development of the Mounds Lake Reservoir, a project first proposed by the Anderson Corporation for Economic Development (CED). The project aims to dam the White River just outside of Anderson thereby creating a 2,100-acre reservoir stretching from Anderson through Chesterfield and Daleville to Yorktown at a cost of $450 million.
Numerous groups are opposed to the project and are calling on their supporters to attend Thursday’s meeting to voice their opposition. The CED claims the project will provide an economic “shot-in-the-arm” to Anderson by providing water utility resources, a recreational hot spot and development opportunities for high-end housing and other projects. Opponents argue the project will needlessly destroy natural resources, animal and plant habitats, protected farm and archeological lands and personal property.
The Anderson City Council is the first government entity to officially consider the commission proposal.
A commission made up on representatives from the involved government entities is needed to move the project forward. The commission would be tasked with obtaining the funding for the next round of feasibility tests and ultimately oversee the construction of the project including property acquisition through eminent domain.
The original commission structure, proposed by the CED, would have given all local and county government entities equal votes in commission business. Those government entities include Delaware and Madison counties and the cities of Anderson, Chesterfield, Daleville and Yorktown. However, after officials in Delaware County began to publicly question the project, a revised commission structure lessened the role Delaware County would play in the commission and put more emphasis on Madison County and the involved cities and towns.
The Delaware County Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday morning opposing the reservoir project. The resolution also included language claiming the formation of the commission without the county council’s involvement violates state code.
The project’s lead supporter, Rob Sparks, told The Herald Bulletin last week that he plans for the project to move forward, even without Delaware county’s involvement. “If the towns and cities want it, we can move forward. My hope is that the project an move forward,” Sparks told the paper.
Groups opposing the project continue to hold events in the effort to educate the public and community leaders about what they see as the negatives about the reservoir proposal. The Heart of the River Coalition will host a canoe tour down the section of the river in question Saturday, May 30. Heart of the River will also host a community forum to discuss the issue at Anderson University June 2. More information about both events is available at moundslakereservoir.org.