BATTLE GROUND – How close did the Indiana Department of Natural Resources come in late 2018 to running massive power lines, big enough to connect two substations on either side of a 2,000-acre state park, through the pasture and future apple orchard at the 1920s-era museum site of the Farm at Prophetstown?
“That was definitely an option,” said John Davis, deputy director for the DNR who oversees the state agency’s land holdings. He was in the middle of negotiations for power line routes near Prophetstown State Parkthat wound up attracting the angst and the phone calls from Greater Lafayette mayors, a senator and on up to Gov. Eric Holcomb.
“Wherever we placed them, we were trying to think of the aesthetics of it all,” Davis said. “I think that one, near the farm, was the shortest route – the least expensive route. … It was never what we ever preferred to do. It was what we felt we had to look at, though.”
On Tuesday, that all shook out when the DNR announced a $1.1 million deal to buy 134 acres near the entrance to Prophetstown State Park. The purchase will expand the 15-year-old state park just outside Battle Ground and five miles north of Lafayette.
Davis said the deal likely will keep utility lines from running through current state park grounds, including over the Farm at Prophetstown, as once feared.