Findlay –When the Eagle Creek Resort opened its doors in 1989 state leaders praised it as an economic driver for tourism in central Illinois.
“No state does more to promote tourism and recreation than does the state of Illinois,” then Governor Jim Thompson told WAND News at the official opening that year.
The resort never operated with a profit.It has been closed since a 2009 court order after mold became a health issue at the facility.
Repeated attempts to get the resort opened again have failed.The Quinn administration even telling lawmakers like State Senator Chapin Rose, (R) Mahomet, that a study was underway in 2014 which was not true.
“We're going to get that back shortly,” Rose said the administration told him.“Get it back shortly!They hadn't even issued the damn thing.Then in October, suddenly right before the election, oh we're going to issue a study.”
A $130,000 contract to study what can be done with Eagle Creek has been issued by the Rauner administration to a Chicago engineering firm.It is expected the study should be completed later this year.
In the meantime, Eagle Creek will not reopen in 2015.It is not likely the resort can be ready at this point by the summer of 2016.
Hotel/motel taxes have been lost to Shelby and Moultrie counties along with sales tax revenues.Lawmakers want the resort fixed so the money can start flowing in again to local businesses.
“Under proper leadership I think we can emerge as a tourism epicenter,” stated State Representative Adam Brown, (R) Champaign.“Tourism dollars for central Illinois are going to be a huge boost not only for our regional economy but for the entire state.”
“What I'd like to see is a branded, a branded facility with people who have a track record of taking over distressed properties and making them successful,” Rose said.“If you have a legitimate business that is competent they're going to be willing to invest their own dollars in this site not the taxpayer's dollars.”