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Man proposes building lake near Diversion Channel

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Jackson man resurrected talk of a recreational lake in Cape Girardeau County at Thursday's meeting of the Cape Girardeau County Commission, though his idea was far different than the proposal for a lake split between Cape Girardeau and Bollinger counties that failed in the early 1990s.

Tom Gleeson pitched his idea to commissioners Gerald Jones and Larry Bock (Commissioner Jay Purcell had a prior engagement) to blast a hole in the northern levee of the Diversion Channel between Interstate 55 and Dutchtown, thereby creating a lake that would stretch nearly to Allenville. Gleeson said such a lake would help draw tourists and investment to the area and could spur other tourist attractions, like a gambling boat moored in the channel.

Jones and Bock were attentive, but Jones expressed some skepticism about the project, primarily asking who would pay for such a thing and what entity would take the initiative in creating the lake.

"Tom, you are a real visionary, there's no question about that," Jones said. "We don't have the authority at all to do something like that."

Jones rushed Gleeson through the last few minutes of his presentation, as he had gone past his cutoff time, but Gleeson pointed out that the commissioners had made him start 15 minutes after his scheduled time, leaving him 15 minutes to talk instead of 30.

Gleeson said he'd been in contact with federal and local officials and local business leaders, but all have turned a deaf ear to him.

"I'd be better off talking to my puppy dog, because my dog would give me more response than talking to the Army Corps of Engineers," Gleeson said.

Gleeson asked if there was a county employee who could help him research the project, but Jones told Gleeson he'd have to find such a person on his own.


335-6611, extension 182

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That area already floods on a regular basis, blasting a hole in the levee is a bad idea. When that area floods, people from communities southwest of that area are cut off from the shortest route to Cape Girardeau.

-- Posted by farmwife1 on Fri, Jul 20, 2007, at 8:12 AM

I've thought for years this area would be the ideal place for a lake. The area is low lying. There are very few homes in the area that would be impacted. The amount of work to convert it to a lake would actually probably be minimmal.

Every year those farmers gamble on whether their crops will be flooded & lost.

The folks in Dutchtown have been wanting a levee on their south side for years. Push some of that farm land up from the proposed lake area to make their levee. If they'd put some boat landings in - it would most likely give them an economic boost as well.

I'm not completely sold on the idea of blasting a hole in the levee - unless some type of spillway system is put in place.

I think the idea is certainly worth investigating.

-- Posted by ShowMeGuy on Fri, Jul 20, 2007, at 9:13 AM

I wasn't surprised to read that Jones was skeptical and not very helpful. He's known for his tactics as commissioner and it's far past time for his retirement.

-- Posted by SEMOfan80 on Fri, Jul 20, 2007, at 9:24 AM

Hey Tom, for years I have thought of just the same idea.Being an old waterfowler that whole area is flood prone,actually in a flood plane.blasting would not be needed,just wait for a good ol diversion channel backup.Yes a very large oppritunity, the land should be a federal land buyout just like thousands of other acres prone to flooding.the upper [west end] would be shallow for waterfowl and the end closer to I-55 [cape] would be deeper for recreational and fishing-EVERYONE WINS!!

-- Posted by champs83lunch on Fri, Jul 20, 2007, at 10:00 AM

Never gonna happen folks!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Fri, Jul 20, 2007, at 10:37 AM

Put that idea right up there with the see through flood wall.

-- Posted by Hawker on Fri, Jul 20, 2007, at 10:56 AM

I see no need for another lake in this area. And we certainly do not need a gambling boat.

Have you not been to the Little Ole Opry campground west of Jackson? They have a beautiful peacefull campground with a lovely lake. Just right for a day of boating and fishing. And they only charge 10.00 I was surpriced the first time we went there, to find they have full hook-up, electic, water and sewer. We have traveled all over; but the Opry camground is the best. And with gas prices so high, it is close to home we can go every week-end.The kids take their bikes and my husband and I walk the trail around the lake.

-- Posted by Morgan on Sat, Jul 21, 2007, at 1:10 PM

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