Flooding proves costly for Fondulac Park District
For the third time in less than a year, the Illinois River has flooded property belonging to Fondulac Park District.
Spindler Marina is boatless. The parks are empty. Campers have been forced to find drier ground.
“As far as I can remember, and I’ve been an administrator for 25 years, this is the worst situation we’ve been in in eight months,” said Brad Smith, the park district’s executive director.
“Financially, it’s been a big drain.”
Since the beginning of the year, the park district has lost about $40,000 in marina and campground revenue when compared with the same time in 2008. Last year, the park district was up between $30,000 and $40,000 before the fall flood. By the end of the year, however, the district was down $15,000.
“Those facilities combined are typically revenue-producing,” Smith said.
The figures do not include the $13,300 in expenses the park district spent last year to clean up after the flooding that started in September. It also excludes the cost from March’s cleanup as well as this month’s.
Although the park district’s nearly 2 1/2 miles of riverfront property was under water, Smith was upbeat.
“This flood, this time is not as bad as we had earlier this year,” he said. “It didn’t get as high, so that’s fortunate.”
When the river’s water recedes, crews will head out to clean and make repairs. Cleanup typically takes two weeks.
Grass will have to replanted. There also will be some grading, and new gravel will have to be laid in primitive areas. Then there’s the repairs to electrical standards and playground equipment at the campgrounds, and the boardwalks linking Cooper Park South, Cooper Park North and the marina.
Smith said it was unlikely the park district would recoup the lost revenue by the end of the year, especially since about half of the campgrounds have been closed the entire season. The campgrounds are open March 1 through Dec. 1.
“We’ll just hope for a good season, repairs to be done and as much revenue as possible to lessen the amount of money we expect to lose this year,” Smith said.
No park district programs would be cut as a result of the loss of revenue, he added.
Leslie Fark can be reached email@example.com.