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Indiana economic groups endorse Mounds Lake project

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) – Economic development organizations in eight central Indiana counties say they support the proposed $450 million Mounds Lake Reservoir project.

The Star Press reports that the CEOs of organizations in Blackford, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Rush and Wayne counties released a statement Monday saying the project can “play a substantial role” in ensuring a prosperous future for East Central Indiana. The only two organizations not part of the release are those from the counties where the reservoir would actually be built: Delaware and Madison counties.

“Jobs, new investment and new businesses are at the core of this project,” leaders said in the statement.

Delaware County’s council has voted against the proposal, but its economic development group has yet to weigh in on the issue. Meanwhile, Madison County’s organization is the driving force behind the reservoir project.

Advocates say the miles-long, 2,100-acre lake would not only create a future source of water but recreation and economic development opportunities. Opponents say there has been no demand for the water and that the reservoir’s formation would displace homes and businesses and destroy artifacts at Mounds State Park.

The Heart of the River group, which opposes the project, said Monday that the proposal was “neither the best nor the only way to reinvent our communities.” They warn that cost overruns, water quality issues and potential lawsuits stemming from the project “could be ruinous.”

The proposal’s next step would be a forming a commission that would oversee the next phases in building the reservoir.