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2023 is target for river dredging at Aroma Park

Posted on August 31, 2022

Dredging of the Kankakee River at Aroma Park is expected to be started and completed in 2023, as part of the initial $8 million investment to ease flooding along the waterway in Kankakee County.

At last week’s Legislative Breakfast for Kankakee County, State Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, again touted the sand and sediment removal program — which will begin at the Aroma Park boat launch — and there is every expectation it will be the first of what will likely be many sand mitigation projects up and down the river.

Joyce said this first project will cost an estimated $1 million.

The river has become so shallow at the boat launch area that boats can no longer be put in the water there. The water is only inches deep in much of that area.

The state senator said the only boat that can be used there is one propelled by a large fan, called an airboat.

“It took 100 years to get the sand there,” he said of the river. “It will take years to get it removed.”

Asked how much sand will be removed in the Aroma Park area of the river, Joyce could only smile and chuckle.

He said he would have no way of answering that question, but he noted the likely most costly part of the project will be trucking it to some yet unknown destination.

At the breakfast hosted by the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and the Kankakee County Farm Bureau and attended by nearly 240 people, Joyce said a significant portion of the total investment for river dredging will be for equipment to remove the sand as well as tree logs.

He said the beauty of purchasing this equipment is the county can then take care of the river largely on its own. He said Kankakee County Highway Department workers would be able to operate the equipment and complete this work.

By having the equipment and the crews to operate it, the county will be able to stretch dollars far into the future and complete more river dredging. He noted if the county hired a company to come in and do the work, it would not take long to see that $8 million washed away.

“We have done a lot of soul searching on how to do this,” he said.

Joyce said all parties were in agreement that purchasing the equipment was the best option.

He also noted at least five or six access points will need to be created to get crews into the river at various points.

It appears the region is finally ready to tackle the sand and sentiment problem which has been an issue for numerous decades.

The build up of the river basin has been a chief talking point whenever the river and its surrounding properties are discussed. Flooding issues have only magnified in recent years as areas rarely impacted by flood waters are now facing this issue with regularity.


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