Lincoln Parish could see 3,000 acres of water in its future..
Some area legislators recently pitched the idea of a manmade reservoir to community leaders in Ruston. They said a lake could be a big boost for the parish. The idea has potential worth exploring.
The region has several examples of lakes that have a significant impact on their communities. Lake D'Arbonne in Union Parish, Caney Lake in Jackson Parish and Poverty Point Lake Reservoir in Richland Parish are prime examples.
We have supported plans to add lakes in western Ouachita Parish and Morehouse Parish because of the positives they can bring. That's why people in Lincoln Parish should seriously study a similar plan. We encourage Lincoln Parish leaders and residents to study the feasibility based on what's best for that community.
Lake projects take a long time to become reality and cost a lot of money, but several factors make such a project appealing:
-- It offers economic development opportunities through businesses associated with the lake.
-- Property values increase.
-- It adds to quality of life with more recreational opportunities and makes the area more attractive to potential residents, including increasing the potential to develop a retirement community.
-- It provides the parish with a new water source.
With the Sparta Aquifer groundwater levels on the decline, future water sources are crucial. Building a new lake doesn't solve the aquifer problems, but it can help alleviate some of the pressure.
"Lincoln Parish is sitting on a gold mine as a great retirement community with the advent of Squire Creek (Country Club) and a reservoir to help develop sites for homes and alleviate the problems with the aquifer draining so rapidly," state Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, said. "It'll increase property values hundredfold and complement economic development."
Part of the recent presentation included the impact the new Poverty Point Reservoir has made in Richland Parish. The report stated the lake has an $8 million annual economic impact, created 250 jobs, produces 100 million gallons of water per month and increased surrounding property values dramatically. That's a lot more than just a place to fish or soak up the sun.
State Rep. Hollis Downs, D-Ruston, Ruston Mayor Dan Hollingsworth, Lincoln Parish Police Jury President Mickey Mays and Choudrant Mayor Bill Sanderson have given their preliminary support to the plan. That's a good starting point.
The parish will need unified support if it wants such a project to become a reality.