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Low water levels on Lake Freeman spur economic impact study

White and Carroll counties have partnered with Purdue Center for Regional Development to conduct an economic impact study on Lake Freeman.

Posted: May 12, 2021 5:11 PM
Updated: May 12, 2021 9:50 PM

WHITE & CARROLL COUNTIES, Ind. (WLFI)—Low water levels on Lake Freeman have spurred an economic impact study. Leaders are calling the move a preventative measure to protect local government.

Executive Director for Carroll County Economic Development Corporation Jacob Adams said the study will emphasize how important Lake Freeman is to the local economy.

"Our concern is reduced water levels over time, does it have an impact on our basic functions as a government," said Adams. 

Adams said Jefferson Township, which mostly encompasses Lake Freeman, is nearly 25% of Carroll County's assessed value.

"We understand that the reduced water levels are to protect an endangered species and rightfully so," said Adams. "Our goal isn't to necessarily diminish that decision but to merely look at it from a holistic point of view."

This is why both White and Carroll counties are spending more than $9,000to partner with Purdue Center for Regional Development.

The study is broken up into three parts:

A confidential survey that allows businesses and home owners to talk about the impact of low water levels.

A consumer part that delves into how much money would have been generated for the county and how much was lost.

As well as a business aspect that looks into revenue from businesses on Lake Freeman that were directly affected.

"We saw businesses that couldn't open, we saw residents that couldn't use their properties, crumbling sea walls," said Adams.

"It's nice to see the communities working together to put data behind this," said Owner of Madam Carroll, Chris Peters. 

The Madam Carroll lost more than $70,000  last year due to low water levels.

"But just to deal with the infrastructure changes and stay operational and open we are probably like another $80,000 and that's for one instance of this," said Peters. 

"We want this to be used as a tool to make quality decisions in the future of protecting not only the endangered species but the water levels on Lake Freeman," said Adams. 

Adams said the study will run through the summer. Pamphlets will also will be mailed to homes and businesses in White & Carroll counties. 

To View the survey for businesses click here. 

For home owners click here.

For visitors click here.

You can also read previous coverage of Lake Freeman's water levels in 2020 by clicking here. 

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