Rose Calls For DNR To Hurry Up On Eagle Creek Resort
By Jim Meadows
State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) is promising an in-depth budget review of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, saying it has moved too slowly on renovations for the resort at Eagle Creek State Recreation Area in Shelby County.
Rose says the review is needed to explain the department’s lack of progress in reopening the state-owned resort. It’s been closed since 2009 and needs extensive renovations, including mold remediation and a new sewer system. A developer, BMDD Resorts of Decatur, had leased the Eagle Creek resort in 2010, with plans to reopen it. But they pulled out in March of this year, after disagreeing with the Department of Natural Resources over who is responsible for fixing all the problems at the site. Rose says that he defended DNR at the time. But now, Rose accuses agency of either ineptitude or deliberately “slow-walking” the project.
“Governor Quinn had a big, much-ballyhooed tax increase on license plates to help pay for supposed renovation and upkeep of the parks", said Rose. "Well, where’d that money go? Because it sure isn’t at Eagle Creek.”
Rose says DNR indicated last May that construction cost estimates for fixing up the Eagle Creek resort would be coming soon ---- but that nothing had been done, as of last week.
Rose made his comments in a news conference call, joined by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville), Shelby County Board Chairman Bruce Cannon (R-rural Findlay), and Shelbyville Mayor Jeff Johnson. Johnson said it was critical that the Eagle Creek resort be reopened and run successfully.
"We have millions and millions of visitors that come to this lake every year", said Johnson. "And there is a need out there for overnight accommodations and the amenities it can provide."
Johnson went on to say that the methods used in the past for choosing an operator for the Eagle Creek resort have proven unsuccessful. Prior to BMDD Resorts, an earlier operator went into receivership.
Moutrie County Chairman Dave McCabe and Findlay Mayor John Diss did not take part in the news conference call, but Rose said they were supported the statements made.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources did not have an immediate response Tuesday, although a spokesman said one would be forthcoming.