Kevin Tungesvick’s February 3rd open letter to Rob Sparks of the ACED

Dear Rob,

It has been nearly 2 years since the Mounds Reservoir proposal was leaked to the public. In that time, it has been repackaged from its original intent as a recreational lake and economic development proposal to a water supply project in a cynical attempt to increase its chances of being permitted. In spite of the fact that no major water utility supports it or believes the water will be needed in coming decades, you persist with this argument. While it is obvious that water conservation combined with incremental development of additional well fields is the most cost effective way to expand central Indiana’s water supply, you continue to claim that the reservoir is the most cost effective alternative by comparing it to other boondoggles that will never happen such as building a pipe to the Ohio River.

For nearly two years, the hardworking people of Irondale and other affected neighborhoods have been tortured by the uncertainty of whether the homes where they have lived for their entire lives will be taken. Vicious rumors have been started that the proposal is a “done deal” or “gonna happen”. The lack of professionalism that has characterized the promotion of this project began the day you naively accepted the absurd assertion of no “fatal flaws” from a consultant with a financial interest in performing the more detailed and more lucrative later phases. You have consistently failed to get second opinions from environmental and economic professionals on the viability of this project. To this day, those opinions have only been made available through the panel discussions sponsored by The Heart of the River Coalition.

Further, you continue to claim that the project is environmentally feasible in spite of very skeptical letters from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, two of the agencies that would be deeply involved in the permitting process. Finally, you continue to publicize the absurdly low price tag of $ 450 million when expert after expert contends this is a billion dollar project. Are we really expected to believe that you can move all of the existing water and sewer infrastructure, remediate the dump sites, replace several major highway bridges, acquire the land, demolish the existing structures, build the dam and mitigate the environmental impacts for $450.00 million dollars?

Rob, it took the perfect storm of arrogance, ignorance and naivety to assume you could inflict the most environmentally destructive project proposed in decades in central Indiana on its citizens. Arrogance that a small group of people with a financial interest in the project should decide what is best for the community. Ignorance of the tremendous asset the existing corridor represents to all of east central Indiana. Naivety to believe you could force this project past the regulatory agencies and more importantly, the people of Indiana.

The White River, Mounds State Park, and Mounds Fen Nature Preserve do not belong to the individuals with a vested interest in this project. They do not belong to the city of Anderson. Nor do they belong to the current generation of Hoosiers. Rather, they are held in trust for all future generations. It is our obligation to pass them on undiminished in beauty, diversity and ecological function. Opposition to this proposal will continue to grow as more citizens become aware of the massive destruction to our communities, infrastructure, and recreational properties. It is time to quit threatening the best remaining natural areas in east central Indiana. It is time to quit inflicting the pain and suffering of uncertainty on the affected homeowners. It is time to admit this project is neither feasible nor desirable.

Rob, we have given you the perfect out with our alternative Mounds Greenway proposal. It is time to abandon this divisive reservoir proposal that will never happen and unite our community behind the greenway.


Kevin Tungesvick

Please share if you agree this destructive proposal should be withdrawn.

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