Melton: County would regret passing up opportunity to buy Lake Adger

Published 1:34 pm Monday, May 12, 2008

Tommy Melton says years ago he had the opportunity to buy a commercial building in Polk County. It sounded like a good price at the time, but he told the seller it was just a little more than he was willing to spend.

Today, he says, that building is worth ten times what he could have bought it for back then.

Melton, chairman of the Polk County Board of Commissioners, says county officials and residents would face the same regret years from now if the county doesn&squo;t take advantage of its opportunity now to purchase Lake Adger.

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He says some residents may question the $1.6 million price tag for the lake and the potential costs of up to $2 million to solidify the dam. But 50 years from now, he says, that cost will seem like a great bargain.

Melton says the cost is well worth it considering that the lake will secure the county&squo;s water supply for decades to come.

The county previously considered just getting an intake on the Green River, but then learned that the lake was available for purchase. Melton says the county didn&squo;t consider buying only a small piece of property at the lake for an intake, and he isn&squo;t sure that would have been possible. He says it&squo;s much better for the county to own the lake and guarantee that the water will be available for future generations.

He says Duke Power previously offered to run lines and supply the county water when it operated the hydroelectric facility at Lake Adger, but county officials declined that offer, he says.

The county wouldn&squo;t face the water supply questions it does today if county officials had had the foresight back then to accept that offer, Melton says. The current county board, he says, has been determined to look ahead and not make the same mistake again.