SOUTH BELOIT — Water levels in the flooded South Beloit City Park have gone down significantly, but city officials say it will take time to assess the damage and to make plans as to the future of the park.
City Park has been closed since October of 2018 due to flooding.
Ken Morse, public property commission on the South Beloit City Council, said water levels have receded quite a bit in the park, but it probably won’t be reopened this year.
“If we have a good dry winter, we might look at where we are in the springtime,” he said.
Plans for the new park, which will be adjacent to Nature at the Confluence, include a splashpad and playground equipment. Morse said there also will be a “quiet” area for older residents to enjoy.
“That and the Confluence will make this a beautiful area for people to enjoy,” Morse said.
He said it is hoped that work can begin on the splashpad in the spring and other park features can be added sometime next year.
He said he hopes at least to open the part so some people can do some fishing in the lake next year, but there are a lot of steps to take before that happens.
Streets Supervisor Mike Murphy said the flood waters have dropped enough for crews to get down in the park and mow grass in the northern part of the park.
He said about 40% of the park no longer is under water, but there still is water on the roadway from the base of the hill to the veteran’s memorial area.
“We will have a lot of cleanup to do. We will have to scrape the roads with all the mud and sediment that has settled on the road,” he said.
He estimated there is about two to three inches of mud on the roadway that has been exposed after the water receded.
Power has been shut off in the park because of the abundance of standing water. So, electrical infrastructure will have to be inspected to determine if it needs maintenance or repair.
Also, the tennis courts will have to be power washed and playground equipment will have to be inspected and cleaned.
“It’s going to be a long-term restoration,” Murphy said.
This is not the first time City Park has been closed because of flooding. In 2008, the park was closed for several years because of flooding.
The city put over $80,000 into repairs, removal of bleachers and other changes in the park after that episode.
Now, city official want to take a hard look at what can be done to avoid flooding problems in the future and keep the park viable.
“We want to come up with a definitive plan,” Morse said.
In the meanwhile, Morse and the city council are moving forward with plans for a new park area near the corner of Charles Street and Blackhawk Boulevard.