One Lake Project one step closer to reality; second review finishedBy ANTHONY WARREN,
Another milestone has been reached with the One Lake project.
The second of three federally mandated reviews of the project has been completed, with the third and final study expected to get under way before the year’s end.
The third study should take between 60 and 90 days, according Keith Turner, who represents the local entity sponsoring the project.
Once the third evaluation is wrapped up, engineers will adjust the project to meet any concerns and send the documents to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers national headquarters for final approval, he said.
Federal law requires the project to go through a lengthy review process before it can be built. The studies also need to be completed to be eligible for $133 million in federal funding authorized for the project years ago.
The plan first had to be reviewed by the corps’ Vicksburg district. The second study was conducted by corps officials outside the Vicksburg district, and the third will be conducted by the Patel Institute, an international firm, Turner said.
“It’s a nonprofit firm used by the corps. They’ll come back with questions and comments and we’ll modify the plan (accordingly),” Turner said.
The project includes building a roughly 1,500-acre lake along the Pearl River, from just north of Lakeland Drive to south of I-20, but north of Savanna Street.
Work will include excavating and widening the river and using material to create levee and shoreline.
The levee will create waterfront property, which could be used for new construction and recreational opportunities.
“People want the opportunity to get out on the river, but seldom do people use (it) because it’s levied off. In Jackson, there’s only one public access point – Mayes Lake. You can’t go downstream, because there’s a weir there … You can only go up the river. If you’re paddling, that can be tough,” Dallas Quinn, spokesman for the Pearl River Vision Foundation, told the Sun previously.
The Vision Foundation is funding studies of the One Lake project.
In addition to recreational and economic development opportunities, the lake is designed as a flood control project.
The lake is designed to reduce flooding by about 95 percent in the event of a flood similar to the 1979 Easter Flood.
The flood devastated parts of the capital city and Rankin County. Structures located in the area flooded that year are today valued at $2.5 billion, Quinn said previously.
The project is estimated to cost around $300 million, and is being funded with $133 million in federal funds, which were authorized as part of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). WRDA was updated in 2016 and maintained funding for the work.
Work on One Lake got under way in 2013, when the Vision Foundation began evaluating the project.
The project is being sponsored by the Rankin-Hinds levee board, which is made up of appointees from the cities of Jackson, Flowood, Pearl and Richland, as well as Hinds County, Rankin County and the state.