Hundreds of people turned out at the Ag Center last week to either lend support or opposition, or just to be informed about the latest incarnation of a plan to control Jackson flooding with a new lake below the Ross Barnett spillway. The so-called One Lake plan has morphed considerably from John McGowan’s Two Lake plan. The new plan is less invasive but less effective, both from a flooding and development perspective.
That being said, some plan is needed to control flooding in Jackson. The One Lake plan is by far better than levees and is slowly but surely gaining support of the various governmental entities involved. It has the added benefit of creating new shore-front land for development. This could potentially generate desperately needed tax growth for Jackson.
Just as when the reservoir was proposed, downstream communities are voicing their opposition and concerns. They fear reduced flow from the river may destabilize their riverbanks. Certainly, these fears should be addressed in an open and honest manner. Transparency is critical to the process.
We appreciate the environmental concerns, but people should remember that wetland mitigation is a fundamental part of the plan. There is only one major urban area in Mississippi: Jackson. It makes no sense to insist upon a wetland in the very heart of our state’s only metropolitan area. Mississippi is full of forests and wetlands that are not so critically located. The One Lake plan will allow hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy this area which currently is a littered, mosquito-infested swamp.
No doubt some landowners will benefit. Good for them. The majority of the financing will rely on tax assessments that will be paid by the landowners. Accordingly, they hopefully will recoup this investment through enhanced property values. As a byproduct, tens of thousands of homeowners will see lower flood insurance premiums and increased property values when Jackson has significantly reduced the probability of another disastrous flood.