After decades of planning, studies, and hard work, the Clarke County Reservoir project is on schedule and ready to move on to its next phase.
In the mid 1990s, a study was commissioned to evaluate the viability of a new, larger reservoir to meet the growing needs of the community well into the future. The original Clarke County Reservoir Commission (CCRC) was formed in 2003 and worked closely with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to evaluate all possible options for a future reservoir. After years of studies, a solution was agreed upon for a 789 acre reservoir about three miles northwest of Osceola, that would not only meet the demands of a growing Osceola and Clarke County, but also provide water resources for surrounding areas. The capacity of the new reservoir will more than double the current water resource, West Lake’s 306 acres.
The summer of 2019 will see the completion of the first phase of the project, with the acquisition of the final 185 acres needed. The Clarke County Reservoir Commission is currently in negotiations to secure the final property needed, while also working hard to secure funding before moving on to the second phase of securing a construction contract through a loan from the USDA Rural Development agency. As with the rest of the reservoir development, the financing and repayment of the construction loan will be pulled from the Local Option Sales tax the community voted to put toward the reservoir in 2008 and re-confirmed in late in 2013. Without the community’s support, the CCRC wouldn’t have reached this point and is grateful for the continued commitment to the completion of project.
“With the growth of Osceola, Murray, and other communities, this reservoir is more essential than ever,” said Dave Beck, Project Coordinator of the CCRC. “The Commission’s hard work is paying off after making major strides over the last few years. Through the combined efforts of the CCRC and community leaders, we are on schedule to begin construction in the next couple of years.”
A hub for travelers with a small-town feel and easy metro access, Osceola has the amenities a growing rural community needs. The challenge has been, with a limited water supply, Osceola struggles to support new large industry or the expansion of businesses already located in the area. This limits growth potential and burdens the community with shouldering taxes and ancillary costs needed to maintain a positive development profile in the state.
“Osceola is already positioned as a successful manufacturing community and with a sufficient water supply, the area becomes even more attractive for developers,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the CCDC. “We are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and anticipate continued growth and improvement for Osceola well into the future.”
The CCRC expects the last parcel of land to be acquired before the end of July and will continue moving forward with securing the loan and the construction contract by late 2021. Staying on schedule with persistent hard work, the Commission foresees the completion of the reservoir sometime in 2024 or 2025.