Special to the Progress

The proposed Lake Columbia project is expected to have a very positive, long-term economic impact on the area through several avenues, an Angelina Neches River Authority-funded study reports this month.

Any reduction in economic benefits is expected to be short-lived based on the study’s estimation on an increase in property tax revenues, new residents and increases in payrolls due to the presence of the lake.

The information below, determined during an Environmental Impact Study by RRC, Inc., of Bryan, Texas, reveals some interesting facts concerning the overall impact of the lake, scheduled to be completed in 2012 between Jacksonville and New Summerfield.

The study shows:

• $31.2 million in annual savings by not importing water from another East Texas reservoir

• $7.2 million in annual payroll for 361 new jobs

• $26.2 million in annual spending within a 30-mile radius of the lake by recreational visitors on the lake

• $3.6 million in annual spending at local businesses by new employees to the area

• $3.9 million in annual spending by new residents to the area, which are generated by the lake

• $661,000 in annual loss on timber production. However, a one-time timber production surge is expected as harvesting takes place prior to inundation

• $88,000 – Initial annual property tax loss. However, after the reservoir is complete, its presence is expected to create an increase in value of the property near the lake

This study group determined the recreational use figures based on a study of 24 East Texas lakes and reservoirs. The study included spending by day boaters and overnight campers and boaters.

Spending was studied in many areas, including: camping, restaurants, hotel/motel, groceries, gas and oil, boat and sporting equipment needs.

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