LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Tippecanoe and Carroll County residents who oppose a proposed stone quarry near Americus turned out in full force Tuesday evening.
While representatives from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took down their comments, they hope more than words on a page, they take their concerns to heart.
The names kept coming for the residents who wanted to speak. The room was so full Tuesday night, there was standing room only outside in the hallway at the Tippecanoe County Office building.
Almost 400 petitioned for the meeting, with an estimated 125 showing up, including Nate Hofmann, co-organizer of the Americus Area Community Coalition, which opposes the quarry.
"It's just a proud feeling to be a resident of Americus," says Hofmann. "Watching all the people you know come together to say this is something we don't want and we're going to stand together to fight it, you can't put words to something like that."
For 90 minutes, the DNR listened, taking notes that will be taken to the permit reviewers for follow-up related to the quarry that has been proposed to be constructed on Old State Road 25 near Americus. The DNR is concerned only with a few items, such as how the proposal will affect things like flooding, groundwater and wildlife in the area.
DNR Senior Environmental Manager Larissa Muellner was one of two officials listening for something said that hadn't been thought about by the reviewers.
"Any additional information may help facilitate those reviews, but a lot of things we already incorporate," says Muellner.
Some officials also expressed questions and concerns, including Delphi Mayor Randy Strasser.
Representatives for the developer, including consultant at TBIRD Design, Erich Hart, were also in attendance.
"I don't have a lot to say. I doubt anybody here wants to hear too much from me, but I will point out that we are here. We are listening. We are concerned," says Hart.
DNR officials say they are waiting on information from the developer before they can finish a fish and wildlife review, as well as a technical review for the proposed quarry. Then the agency will issue its action on the proposal, either approving or denying it, a result that is still months away.
Residents hope their numbers and their words make a difference.
"I hope so. I think we gave them valid concerns and I hope they go back with all the information we gave them," says neighbor Tina Deno.
"I hope it gives them something to think about, so they consider everything that will be impacted," added adjacent property owner Jason McCoy.
Hofmann says it's not over if the DNR approves the project.
"If they approve it, we go to appeals. We're not going to give up, we're not going to stop. We're not going to quit and we're going to keep going until the job gets done," says Hofmann.
The proposed quarry also needs approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals. The project was scheduled to be heard at Wednesday night's meeting, but it has been pulled from the agenda.
Of course, News 18 will continue to follow this story.
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