I have lived in Madison County most of my life, and for the past 14 years, I served on the Town Council in Pendleton, recently retiring as president. I have watched with great interest the happenings around the proposed Mounds Mall for a few reasons.
First, the proposed lake would solve a long-term problem for the state, as we look ahead to the water needs of central Indiana. Mounds Lake could meet the needs of today and support with confidence future growth of our region for generations to come. While there are pockets in Indiana flush with aquifers, the central region is not. In fact, most of the 1.8 million residents and industry in central Indiana relies heavily on water provided by three reservoirs (Eagle Creek, Geist and Morse), and the rivers and streams that feed them. These reservoirs were constructed between 1940 and 1970, when the region’s population was just 700,000.
Second, water means jobs. Talk to any mayor or council member and they will tell you one of the first questions a company asks when they are considering relocation is about water. Look to the west, where water is a scarcity, to see in action this simple equation: industry needs water to operate and those who have water attract industry. Let’s not forget that we used to have 22,000 high-paying jobs in the county that are no longer here. Adding such a robust water resource with Mounds Lake would set us apart.
Finally, creating Mounds Lake would provide greater opportunities for recreation and development for our community. One reason there has been so little development, and therefore less tourism activity than you might expect, along the White River is that the surrounding land is a flood plain, making it impossible to build on most of the land that borders the River. Even paths and trails are a challenge, as we have seen when officials attempted to construct bike paths in the park, only to be flooded to the point of no use.