ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) - Community leaders and economic development officials in Madison and Delaware Counties are looking into the possibility of turning part of the White River into a 2,100-acre reservoir.
Initial estimates indicate the project would cost about $350 million and would require the acquisition of about 400 homes. The reservoir would also consume the area where Mounds Mall currently sits and continue northeast to Daleville.
Rob Sparks, director of the Corporation for Economic Development for Anderson and Madison County, said 85 percent of the land is currently undeveloped.
"Most of it is in the 100-year floodway and had never been developed so it's probably part of what makes part of this possible," said Sparks.
Sparks said the reservoir would provide more water resources for central Indiana and economic development opportunities nearby.
Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith called it a potential game changer.
"It'd really recreate an entire environment based on water – water sports and all those amenities that come about in the next months and years," said Smith.
Smith cautioned it's only a proposal.
"There are many details, many important aspects that we don't know yet and those questions will come about in the next months and years," he said.
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So far, Sparks said about $100,000 has been spent on feasibility studies, but cautioned the project is far from a done deal.
"It's going to take Madison County, Delaware County, as well as Anderson, Chesterfield, and Daleville to say ‘let's pursue this,'" he said.
"I've got mixed feelings about it," said Anderson resident Mike Powers, who said he believes his home may be among the 400 needed for the project. "This town needs something. And if a reservoir's an answer, maybe we should (build it.) But it's going to displace a lot of low-income disadvantaged people and where will we go?"
"That's certainly part of the conversation," said Sparks. "The reality comes back to trying to find a solution that works. It will be working with each one of them to find a solution that works if it comes to that point. We're obviously a long way from talking about property acquisition."
Sparks said the project would require multiple approvals from local, state, and federal agencies and an investor willing to join the project.
"To this point in the first phase, we haven't found any fatal flaws," said Sparks. "The question is – can it be done and do we have the will to see if it can be done?"
The town of Greenfield mourned the loss of its mayor, Richard "Dick" Pasco on Tuesday.
Interstate 70 east near Interstate 465 was reopened Tuesday evening after a crash blocked all lanes around 6:30 p.m.
If you're looking for something to do over the next seven days you may want to check out Bankers Life Fieldhouse.