Lake McCoy's future remains unknown

Aug. 31—GREENSBURG — A small group of concerned individuals met earlier this month at Lake McCoy to discuss the current state of and future plans for the area.

The meeting was organized by Decatur County Commissioner Tony Blodgett as a question and answer session enabling residents to discuss concerns and share what they feel needs to be addressed.

"The hope is that this committee of politicians has enough power to start getting attention," Blodgett told those assembled.

According to Blodgett, Washington Township Trustee Bev Rivera plans to eventually tear down structures at the lake that are owned by the township, clean them up, and sell them.

A mobile home park, Creswood Mobile Home Resort, is currently owned by John Egner of SSS 30 LLC. None of the properties at the lake are on city utilities, though some are on rural water. While there has been a wastewater treatment plant at the lake, the plant was specifically for the trailer park.

Discussion turned to what the Lake McCoy conservancy can and cannot do. The conservancy was formed in 1991, according to creation documents provided to the Daily News by Blodgett. The conservancy's duties are limited to repairing or improving the lake, dam and spillway. Blodgett said the conservancy was formed when Lake McCoy residents saw a decline in property values; a letter in the conservancy creation documents addressed to attorney Margaret A. Polanski from appraiser Thomas Barnes, dated March 13, 1992, states that at the time property values had decreased 25% over the previous three years.

Blodgett told attendees, "We're on fact-finding mode. A lot of the old information is gone, not available to us."

For example, Blodgett said approximately 89% of the lots at the lake can't be surveyed. The Daily News contacted Decatur County Surveyor Andy Scholle, who explained the lots at the Lake McCoy Resort subdivision were recorded in 1924 and can't be resurveyed because there's not enough information; directions and distances are missing in many cases and there's no way to recreate the original lot boundaries.

Blodgett noted during the meeting that there's uncertainty whether local government should address the inability to survey lots at Lake McCoy and if so, how. He said one solution, if the majority of property owners were open to it, would involve property owners coming together and requesting their lots be surveyed, though this would only work if there is a relatively low number of property owners.

"What don't you want the government to do?" Blodgett asked attendees. There was silence, and then some attendees spoke and explained why they didn't have answers, one noting, "You asked a specific question. Why didn't any of us have anything to say? We don't know what your power is." Another chimed in, "We don't know how far you can reach." An attendee also said, "It all boils down to what we can and what we can't do."

After listening to attendees' concerns, Blodgett outlined what he and the committee hope to accomplish.

"Number one is the water. That's our number one priority, and it's clean," he said, adding that there's a side concern about raw sewage dumping. The next major concerns are unsafe buildings, damage, trash clean-up, and "all the stuff that IDEM talked about."

Blodgett emphasized it's not only the trailer park. "I want it all cleaned up," he said.

Cleaning up the properties would require enforcing ordinance 2004-05, passed May 17, 2004. This ordinance relates to the accumulation of litter, trash and junk as public nuisances on a property.

After those concerns are addressed, Blodgett said the next goal will be working to collect property taxes.

"Through all this," he said, "I want to work with the conservancy and fix" other problems. "I would love to see the trailer park come back as a trailer park." This was met with disagreement from one attendee, and another attendee said "if that's allowed, it needs to be in their paperwork, a statement that the trailers cannot be over five years old."

Another person said if the trailer park is revived there should be 24-hour surveillance and regular law enforcement patrols.

Blodgett clarified that he's been in contact with potential local investors, "which is what I would like to see. I don't want some out-of-stater who's going to hire whoever to come in," emphasizing, "this is the very spark of an idea, whether it's feasible or not, I have no idea."

Blodgett wants to see more affordable housing available in the county and asked attendees if Lake McCoy residents would want to fix the water treatment plant and make it an area-wide item, not an item exclusive to the trailer park.

"Back in the early 1970s," one attendee noted, "the trailer park was really nice." Blodgett replied that it takes good property management to keep a trailer park nice.

"I would like," Blodgett said, "to put affordable housing over there. ... The groundwork is there for a trailer park."

One issue with the idea of reviving the trailer park is that many older slabs and lots at Cresswood are too small for modern trailers, even a modern single-wide.

An attendee noted another problem would be most available electricity infrastructure wouldn't handle new trailers and there had already been problems with the water before Creswood shut down.

One person asked if Blodgett could help find an attorney to write a new rules and regulations book — the one that previously existed has disappeared — enabling the conservancy to use their funds more broadly and install a new road.

Blodgett said he and Scott Doles, the director of the conservancy, have discussed the road.

"I don't know if I have any power to make a difference," Blodgett said, "so the question becomes who do I have to talk to."

His hope is that as a county commissioner and with the support of his fellow commissioners they can start getting questions answered and at least help property owners and the conservancy find resources.

Contact Noelle Maxwell at