VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Area civic leaders heard encouraging news about Eagle Creek resort during an ‘update’ session with legislators Wednesday at the Lake Shelbyville Visitor Center.
State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) said he hosted the session to “educate me about the Lake Shelbyville area.”
“I’m the new kid on the block, so this is for my benefit,” Rose said.
Rose invited State Representative Adam Brown and U.S. Congressman John Shimkus to the meeting. Also in attendance were representatives from Illinois Department of Natural Resources, area mayors and county board members, and Corps officials.
Richard Glazebrook, supervisor for Eagle Creek and Wolf Creek State Parks, reported that work is being done on the building although he could not give a timeline to reopening.
“I’m happy to report the resort is being gutted, the resort is being worked on, and the resort will be reopened,” Glazebrook said. “They’re taking everything out down to the studs.”
The resort was shuttered in 2009 due to mold problems and was purchased by BMDD Resorts Corporation of Decatur in 2010 for renovation work.
The National Golf Course, located at the resort, was renovated and reopened in 2010. Glazebrook added that improvements to the course are being planned for this year as well as improvements to the parking areas and new boat docks in 2014.
“Things are positively happening at Eagle Creek Resort,” Glazebrook said.
Glazebrook reported that temporary docks and a high water beach area will be developed at Wolf Creek, on the east side of the lake, thanks to an agreement with the Corps of Engineers.
“In 20-some years of being here, I’ve never seen a better working relationship between the Corps and DNR. That makes it better for counties and cities to work together,” Glazebrook said.
Mike Stevens of the DNR spoke on the impact State Parks have on the local and state economies. He reported that the agency is starting a “Great Parks Partnership” which will allow volunteer groups and individuals to work with the parks for the parks.
The agency is also looking to rehire interpreters for the parks. Interpreters explain points of interest to visiting groups to the state parks, such as Lincoln Log Cabin State Park near Charleston.
Lake Shelbyville manager Ricky Raymond reported that in 2012 there were 4.1 million visitors to the lake bringing a more than $88 million economic impact for the surrounding communities.
He added that the number of visitors dropped later in the summer due to the heat and that numbers were also down over Labor Day due to remnants of Hurricane Isaac.
Raymond noted that the volunteer program is very important to the lake.
“We do a lot of work with volunteers,” Raymond said.
Raymond reported that work on the General Dacey trail connecting the Dam East Recreational area to downtown Shelbyville will be finished this spring. The Corps is currently redeveloping the lake at Sullivan to improve the fishing environment. This year the Corps is planning to replace two sluice gates and install a new buoy system and beach at Wolf Creek. He also reported that improvements to camping areas are being planned.
Stephanie McMahon, director of the Sullivan Chamber of Commerce, said that the city is looking for way to attract more visitors to the city and into Moultrie County.
“The north end doesn’t get as much traffic as the south end, but we’re trying to find ways to attract more visitors to our end of the lake,” McMahon said.
The Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure (MOGA) event and Spores ‘n More slated for April will help bring visitors to the general lake area.