The newly relocated dog beach, just south of the Church Street boat ramp, opened for play last Friday, as planned, said Lawrence Hemingway, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services for the City. Because of rising lake levels, the previous dog beach, just north of the boat ramp, had dwindled, and the City decided to create the new dog beach. City reporter Shawn Jones wrote in the May 19 issue of the RoundTable, “Parks Director Lawrence Hemingway announced a relocated dog beach, just south of the previous location. The City dredges its boat launch every year, and this year took dredged sand and spread it over the rocks just south of the boat launch – instant beach.”
The City’s dredging and spreading attracted the attention of at least two residents, who contacted the Army Corps of Engineers about the activity. The Army Corps found that, although the City had applied for a dredging permit last year, the permit had not been granted because the City failed to provide required material. “The response to the additional information requested was an oversight by the department and since the process is jointly administered, two of the permits were received and we missed not receiving the Army Corps permit,” Mr. Hemingway told the RoundTable by email in response to several emailed questions.
Last year, the City applied for and received permits from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz. The permits allowed the City to spread “sand dredged in an area that includes the dog beach. The City spread the dredged sand outside that area in order to create the new dog beach,” he said.
The Army Corps notified the City that there was no permit and requested additional information from the City, which the City provided, Mr. Hemmingway said. By then, he said, the dredging had been completed. However, it is not clear when the Army Corps learned that.
In a telephone conversation on May 20, Soren Hall, senior project manager at Army Corps of Engineers, told the RoundTable the Army Cops had been in contact with the City the week before and shortly afterward the City responded to the Army Corps’s request for information. He said the Army Corps would look into a permit for routine disposal. The “disposal” is the spreading of the dredged sand, in this case, south of the boat ramp.
Yet Mr. Hemmingway told the RoundTable, “The dredging work was completed when the USACE brought to our attention they hadn’t issued their permit.”
On May 26, Mr. Hall told the RoundTable he had not reviewed the permit for disposal and would likely not be able to do so until early June. He also said City officials “said they followed what was in their permit application.” He said the Army Corps of Engineers regulates the disposal – “and whether that made that area usable as the dog beach, I don’t know.”
The relocated dog beach opened on May 28.”