The Beardstown Marina is progressing forward. COVID-19 has slowed down fundraising efforts for portions of the project, but engineering plans continue to progress. Kelly Cagle, Chair of the Beardstown Harbor committee, says that JBS has donated a significant amount of funds to help with several different costs: “JBS made a very generous donation to us of $310,000, which $60,000 of that was given to the Rescue Squad for a new boat and sonar equipment to make them up-to-date for rescues. We want to hold back some of the money to be able to have it for engineering plans and drawings. We are in the final stages of redoing our permit that we needed to get done. The other $200,000, we want to get as far as the permit that is in place right now will allow. Our engineer made the suggestion that since we already had a contractor there, and we would not have to pay mobilization, if he would go ahead do dredging and work for the same amount that he had done the other work, that it would be quite a cost savings to us.”
Cagle says that once the engineer draws up plans for the additional dredging and approval is made on the permit for the marina from the Army Corps of Engineers, she hopes to have the approval of funding for the final round of dredging before the Beardstown City Council soon.
Cagle says that the marina will have to raise approximately $150,000 to $200,000 for the final stage of the project to get river access. She says that the pandemic has really slowed fundraising efforts: “With COVID, we had a fundraiser that we had already paid for entertainment that was donated that a group of boaters had paid for. We had a place to have it in March and we got shut down, so we haven’t been able to follow through with any plans like that. It’s just kind of been a hard year and over the last two months to be able to raise funds. We did have the dice run on the river, which was able to be socially distanced, but otherwise, we haven’t been able to gather at a place and doing anything like that. It’s kind of putting us behind schedule.”
Cagle says they hope to get an OSLAD grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources: “I feel like we have come a long way. Tuesday was the opening of the bids of the OSLAD grant to put the campground in. The campground, what we are hoping to do with that, is to raise funds to help us be self-sustainable and be able to pay for future maintenance and things down there. We are really excited to have that through DNR.”
Private donations for the project have raised a little over $68,500. For more information about the project or to ask questions, call Cagle at 217-248-9354 for more information.