(BEDFORD) - Bedford City officials are considering acquiring the Avoca Fish Hatchery.
After nearly 100 years of raising fish to stock Indiana waters, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources began decommissioning the hatchery in May of last year.
Decommissioning is not an overnight process and DNR officials estimated it will not be complete until 2015 or 2016. The first step was to transfer the supervisor, biologists and their assistants to other offices. The next step was finding a hatchery that can increase its fish production to absorb the loss of Avoca. The final and most difficult part of the process is finding a receiver for the property.
Bedford Parks Director Barry Jeskewich and Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis are weighing the feasibility of acquiring 43 acres hatchery.
Of those 43 acres, 28 acres of it is wooded and the 13 ponds cover 13 acres.
Officials say it they must consider the cost of maintenance, mowing and electricity. Officials estimate it will take $11,000 a year just to keep the electricity on.
The area has been a hatchery since the 1920s, it has raised a variety of fish, keeping the public waterways well stocked. The hatchery raises bluegill, redear, crappie and trout. In a normal year, the hatchery produced between 500,000 to 1 million fish, according to the DNR website.
The 13 ponds are earthen, not concrete and are fed by a natural spring just above the service building. Grass levees circle each pond and a gravel path, popular with walkers, winds around the ponds.
Atop a bluff is a stone overlook, which gives hikers a view of the hatchery and beyond.
DNR purchased the property in 1919-1924 from Hayden Bridwell. Pond construction began in 1923. The service building behind the residence was built in 1924.
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