The state will provide a $600,000 grant for the next step in a proposed project to build a new reservoir in central Indiana.
The Indiana Revolving Loan Fund has approved the grant to cover the second phase of a feasibility study for the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir stretching from Anderson to Daleville. Plans are to dam the White River to create seven-mile-long, 2,100-acre lake costing an estimated $400 million.
"Our goal is by spring to have a very good idea of the feasibility, costs, and community benefits of the proposed Mounds Lake project," Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development of Anderson/Madison County, told The Herald Bulletin.
Sparks said the next phase of the project would involve testing the ground that would be covered by water following completion of a 50-foot-high earthen dam in Anderson.
"We will be doing core samples, core borings, plus some community visioning and impact sessions," Sparks told The Star Press of Muncie.
Advocates of the project say the reservoir could boost tourism and help relieve the impact of floods and drought through a 400-square-mile area of the White River's watershed.
Sparks said the new study should be completed by next spring and more public meetings will be held as the project advances.
"This is going to be a community effort," he said.
The proposed lake would be slightly larger than Geist Reservoir near Indianapolis.
Support for the project has been building. However, an opposition group named the Heart of the River Coalition says the reservoir would have adverse environmental, health and economic impacts in the area about 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The group's concerns include worries that waste from former auto industry plants that might contaminate the reservoir.