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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