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COLUMBUS, Ind. — Forty days after landowners in northern Bartholomew County received notices alerting them that they'd have to pay thousands of dollars each to improve a 19th century drainage system, the Bartholomew County Drainage Board bowed to public pressure and killed the $410,000 project.
Many landowners, especially those who farm land in the northernmost sections of Flatrock Township, said the $410,000 cost of the proposal to rebuild the aging Cook-Layman Regulated Drain over a 4.5-mile stretch amounted to wasteful spending that could have pushed some farmers into receivership while they struggled to pay huge assessments.
After a tense two-hour meeting Monday night, the drainage board voted to kill the drain project on a 4-0 voice vote. Board member Doug Eckart, who owns property in the affected drainage area, abstained and didn't take part in the debate. He sat in the front row of the audience as a dozen or more spectators paraded to a microphone at the front of the room and blasted the project as ill-conceived.
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