Purchase of land is nearly 80 percent complete for the proposed development of a large lake in Sullivan County that eventually becomes a water source for ten counties and an estimated 54 thousand customers.
That was part of the update Brad Scott gave yesterday at the Trenton Rotary Club meeting. Scott has been general manager the past four and a half years with the North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission at Milan.
Scott presented history about the East Locust Creek water project, government funding and other support. He also told of local support through a half cent county sales tax and the increase in water rates for existing customers. Commission members are Milan, Green City, Greencastle, and Sullivan County Public Water Supply district.
Plans call for the lake north of Milan to encompass 23-hundred acres which Scott said would be the 28th largest in Missouri. It's to have 82 miles of shoreline.
Some 34 hundred acres have been purchased so far out of the 43 hundred that's needed.
It involves 84 land owners ‚Äď the last 11 of which received purchase offers this week.
Because government money is being used to purchase the land, Scott said he's required
to pay an amount, described as a specific percentage, that's ABOVE the agreed-upon
negotiated price to financially help land owners with relocation and other costs.
The lake project has been described as a public-private approach to economic development. It addresses an acute water shortage that has plagued the north Missouri
area for many years. But it also is seen as a new attraction for north Missouri.
A four million dollar state appropriation is helping to complete the purchase of land. There's a projection that lake construction could begin by year 2017 and the lake fully-operational and providing water by 2019.
Much of the job creation is to occur from recreational use. Scott called it a public lake that will look, and act like, a private lake. He noted homes will be built around it, easements will be sold to cross private property to the docks; and docklicenses will be purchased.
In recognizing political support on the federal and state levels, Scott pointed tounique ‚Äúlake authority legislation‚ÄĚ adopted by the Missouri General Assembly in 2011.
In part, it enables local control of the East Locust Creek Reservoir, prevents contamination of the reservoir, establishes the ability to zone, allows private property
ownership near the lake, and a tax increment financing district. With a comprehensive
plan, Scott indicated ‚Äúthe lake authority‚ÄĚ would be able to control private development
around the reservoir, form the TIF district, see property values increase and generate
more revenue from the retail sales tax.
In the meantime, discussions are being held with state and federal agencies regarding grants and loans for construction of water lines. In the coming months, Scott said applications are to be made to fund studies and conceptual planning of a regional water supply network.