A lot of yelling could be heard at a meeting for a development that could have an impact on Marion County’s water supply Tuesday night. Neighbors said they don’t want a truck stop built off an exit along Interstate 69 in Ingalls and now conservationists are weighing in on the debate.
There was no shortage of shouting at the latest meeting in Ingalls.
“We are adjourned,” said an officer at the meeting. “We are done. Everybody out.”
Seventy-five people were allowed in while everyone else waited outside. After the vote, and the uproar that followed, Love’s Travel Center was one step closer to happening.
“I do not think there was anyone in the meeting that was for it,” said resident Corey Mitchem.
Mitchem lives in the Summer Lake neighborhood. It is just across the street, and just across the town line, in Pendleton. People in his neighborhood worry what a truck stop, taking up 14 acres, will bring to their community of roughly 3,000 people.
“Coming in and voicing our opinion, it just does not seem valuable to them,” said Mitchem. “They are going to do what they are going to do.”
The people from Summer Lake brought their petitions, but since they did not officially live in Ingalls, they were not allowed to speak.
“You do not make decisions if you are not in town, and they were invited and they refused,” said Georgia C. Parks with the town of Ingalls.
Another construction concern is water runoff. Conservationists said if safety steps are not taken, gasoline and oil from the pavement of the Love’s Travel Center could wind up in Thorpe Creek, eventually flowing south into Geist Reservoir.
“It is really to reduce the runoff of contaminants, especially in large rain events,” said Scott Rodgers, Vice President and Founding Director of Geist Lake Coalition. “When you get 14 or 16 acres of concrete or asphalt that is really a concern.”
Rodgers said he is not for or against the project, he just wants to make sure the water is safe for the people who will wind up drinking it.
“I understand these folks have concerns,” said Frank Ille, Love’s Truck Stops Manager of Development.
Ille said he is working to get people excited about plans for the new the travel center.
“I want to talk to them,” said Ille. “We always want to be a good corporate neighbor, we always do. I would like to talk to those folks and answer some of their concerns.”
Mitchem said it will be a tough sell.
“No, I do not think it is a good idea at all,” said Mitchem. “With our home values just now starting to come back up, I really think that is something that would bring them down.”
The water from Geist Reservoir feeds into the drinking water supply for a good portion of Marion County, so the steps taken in Ingalls could impact many more people. Steps have been taken toward positive conversation between members of Love’s, and members of Summer Lake.