Low water levels on Lake Freeman reveal economic impact in new study

Date: 2021-11-01 02:59:01

WHITE & CARROLL COUNTIES, Ind. (WLFI)— The pandemic and low water levels had a significant economic impact on White and Carroll Counties, a new study reveals. This is the first time an economic impact study has been conducted on Lake Freeman.

In partnership with Purdue Extension, Carroll and White Counties are releasing economic impact findings on Lake Freeman. In 2020 during the pandemic 72 percent of people said that COVID and low water levels had a negative impact.

“We all understood the economic impact anecdotally,” said Executive Director for Carroll County Economic Development Coporation. “We felt that we needed professional study on this and to be able to kind of benchmark what this has done and what the results of the lower water levels created and we were able to do that.”

Adams said data was gathered using online surveys. There were 461 responses from homeowners, 99 from visitors, and 19 from local businesses.

“What we really found was consumer spending was down significantly down and those same consumers indicated that their spending had been down over the last few years,” said Adams. 

The study concluded that Carroll and White Counties experienced a loss of nine jobs and an overall economic decline of more than $600,000 affecting more than 25industries.

“That was just on the spending end. We didn’t get the response back from the businesses that allowed us to really interpret what we lost on the revenue side,” said Adams. “We know that number is much much bigger we can assume that it is.”

Adams said the $600,000 figure is a snapshot of what was lost in the four months businesses were shut down and water levels were low.

“When we look at that number that number is specifically for the times that would have been utilized,” said Adams. “You take a four month time frame and $600,000 and you lower the water levels for eight months of the season that it’s being used now you are at $1.2 million.”

He said the study is a resource that’ll hopefully help convey the impact low water levels on Lake Freeman can, could and did have on the local economy.

As News 18 has previously reported U.S. Congressman Jim Baird is calling on U.S. Fish and Wildlife to have a sit down to try and resolve the on-going issue of low water levels on Lake Freeman. 

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