State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) announced today a status report for the Kankakee River State Park Campgrounds. Rep. Parkhurst commented:
“Over the last two years, I have been working diligently with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Capital Development Board (CDB), and the Governor’s Office to achieve the reopening of the Kankakee State Park campgrounds. Here is a status update on the projects and my efforts.”
Kankakee River State Park Potawatomi Campground
In 2012, it was determined renovations were needed for one of the main buildings and for the installation of a new sewage treatment plant to accompany the facility. Work began and was 70 – 80 % complete, but work was suspended in 2015 due to the lack of a capital budget.
I fought for $1.855 million in necessary funding for both campgrounds to reopen. I successfully secured $1.6 million in funds from CDB through DCEO to complete projects at the Potawatomi Campground in September 2018. Before work could resume, the original contractors had to submit the required paperwork to restart the project. During this process, the contractors and IDNR had a dispute that lasted until May 2019 which delayed all construction work. The contractors resolved the dispute and continued to work at Potawatomi as long as regular payments were disbursed by the State. Under the new fiscal year that started July 1, 2019, payments by the State halted, and construction stopped.
Currently, internal fiscal issues within IDNR are preventing payments to the contractors; so, construction has stopped. I am currently working with IDNR and the Governor’s office to work out these problems to allow construction to continue uninterrupted. There is no announced reopening date for Potawatomi from IDNR.
Kankakee River State Park Chippewa Campground
The Chippewa campground closed in 2015 because it needed a well and replacement pump. The campground failed to meet the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) requirements for chlorinated water.
IDNR requested to build a new, small water treatment facility needed at the campsite. The initial plans exceeded the available funding for the project. These monetary budget constraints scaled down the size of the project. In July 2018, I secured additional funding to build a more suitable structure on site.
IDNR released $255,000 to the Chippewa campground for this project in September 2018. The design stage for this project was 90% complete in 2018. As required, CDB approved the design and the design stage is now complete. Contract documents were sent to IDNR for procurement in November 2018. The Chippewa campground project required a permit by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). This permit was issued in July 2019.
Currently, this project awaits procurement and has not been sent out for bidding. To complicate things further, the starting of the new fiscal year (July 1, 2019, for FY2020) requires CBD to authorize construction to IDNR. To date, CBD has not granted this authorization which places the project on hold.
Rep. Parkhurst stated, “the campgrounds are at the top of my list and I continue to work with all departments and the Governor’s Office to wade through this bureaucratic red tape and resolve issues so we can open the campgrounds at our beautiful State Park.”