Local lodging establishments turning away construction workers

By Jim McCabe on June 4 at 8:17am

Business is booming for West Central Illinois lodging establishments as the area sees an influx of construction workers on several major projects.

Hotels and camp sites have been full as workers for the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Ameren Rivers electric transmission line, the Meredosia bridge project and others stay in the area.

“The downside to it, is our hotels have been so full, some of them are actually turning away some of the business, where they might have a room here or there, but with all the other projects going on in the area, and with our weekend events, with baseball going on as well and wedding and reunions, we’ve been full on the weekends, too, says Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Brittany Henry.

Andy Egolf, manager of the Crazy Horse Campground, says only 10 to 15 traveling workers are staying at the site north of Jacksonville, but the number of inquiries has been much larger.

“We probably got 250 calls from people looking for spots, and we’ve had to turn them away, unfortunately, because we just don’t have the space to handle all of that. We only have 103 RV spots out here, and so we’ve only got about 15 or 20 that are available for traveling workers,” says Egolf. “We actually have had similar situations, but never this magnitude.”

Even the Jacksonville Area Landlords Association has been busy with some of the long-term stays, according to Henry.

She notes there are tons of benefits to having this increased number of workers.

“It offers more employment, with our lodging facilities being more full, that offers more employment opportunities in the area. Whether that’s indirect or direct, that’s more business coming into the Jacksonville area,” says Henry.

+“There’s more increased spending for our local community that’s going on, and a lot of social advantages too, where they’re actually able to take some time and spend some time in our area and meet some of the locals, and find some of the hot spots in Jacksonville,” she adds.

Henry says the visitors bureau encourages local residents to be welcoming to the out-of-town workers, and to let them know where to shop and dine, and what events are happening in town.