Environmental group, Indianapolis developer plan Indiana trailhead

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An environmental group is working with an Indianapolis-based developer known for its retail projects on plans for a proposed recreational trail in Indiana instead of a stalled reservoir project.

The Hoosier Environmental Council and Sandor Development believe the proposed Mounds Greenway Trailhead District along Scatterfield Road at River Ridge Plaza will be the spark needed to revitalize Anderson's main retail corridor, The Herald Bulletin reported.

Sandor, founded in 1963 and led by Sidney Eskenazi, is one of the largest privately-held shopping center developers in the nation, owning and operating more than 8 million square feet of retail across 25 states.

"Lots of retail centers are struggling, not just here in Anderson," said Michael Popa, program and outreach associate with the environmental council. "This is a low-cost investment that would bring attention to the amenities in the area and could bring hundreds [of] people each year."

Officials believe the proposed trailhead loop and improved canoe launch could expand to include a playground, brewpub, picnic area and live music stage.

The groups worked with the Sustainable Communities Institute at Ball State University to create a development plan that would protect and enhance the White River waterway and bolster business.

"It's all ultimately about improving the quality of life for the people of Anderson," said Tim Maloney, the environmental council's senior policy director.

Sandor owns the plaza and about 35 acres of riverside land. Sandor and the environmental group will next need to secure an easement to use property that's owned by the state and the state Department of Resources.

The groups are in "final talks" to establish an easement, Maloney said.

The $450 million Mounds Lake Reservoir would have been created by damming the river in Anderson, but the proposal raised controversy. The project was proposed by Madison County officials, but it lost momentum and stalled after town officials in Yorktown and Daleville voted against the reservoir proposal in 2015.

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