- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

DALEVILLE, Ind. (AP) - The proposal for a $450 million reservoir on the White River in central Indiana has been derailed by a town council’s vote against joining a commission that would oversee its development.

The leader of efforts to build Mounds Lake between Anderson and Muncie said steps to possibly keep the project alive will be considered following Monday night’s vote by the Daleville Town Council.

Project opponents who packed a meeting room and listened from outside through windows cheered after the council’s 5-0 vote to not join the Mounds Lake Commission.

“After two years of time we had questions that needed answers, and those questions didn’t get answers,” Councilman Bill Walters said.

Plans are for the reservoir to be created by damming the White River in Anderson for a lake stretching for 7 miles in Madison and Delaware counties. Project supporters say the reservoir could help the state’s long-term water needs and attract additional investment and residents to the area.

Project advocate Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development of Anderson and Madison County, said the commission as proposed can’t be formed without Daleville, which is just a few miles east of Anderson and would border the reservoir.

Officials for Madison County, Anderson and Chesterfield had already voted to join the commission that would oversee a feasibility study expected to cost $28 million. But the town councils in the Delaware County communities of Daleville and Yorktown had previously put off making a decision, The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin and The (Muncie) Star Press reported.

“We think we still have a viable project; that’s what the studies have demonstrated,” Sparks said after Monday’s Daleville vote. “I think it’s early to say what the next steps are. The structure of the commission as it is written obviously has to change at this point. We’ll continue to do what we can.”

Many of the about 100 project opponents chanted, “Mounds Lake, big mistake,” outside the Daleville Town Hall before the council meeting.

Opponents maintain the reservoir isn’t needed for water supplies and warn that the project would waste millions of dollars, flood a stretch of the river, destroy wildlife habitat and threaten historic sites, including some in Anderson’s Mounds State Park.

The planned 50-foot-high earthen dam in Anderson would create a 2,100-acre lake slightly larger than Geist Reservoir on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

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