Opponents win battle to keep parked barges away from Chillicothe Island

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 8:45 PM CST
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CHILLICOTHE (HEART OF ILLINOIS ABC) - A Chillicothe harbor owner won’t be allowed to park barges on the Illinois River after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers withdrew his application for a proposed mooring and fleeting operation.

In a public notice, the Corps said it had not received information from the applicant required for further consideration of the project, which produced opposition from residents including Chillicothe’s mayor.

“The application was withdrawn because the Corps did not receive the required data relevant to the permit application, and was not able to evaluate the requested information,” the Corps said in public notice dated Monday, December 20.

Richard Hamm, owner of Hamm’s Holliday Harbor and an island on the river across from a Chillicothe city park, filed the permit request. Hamm noted in an interview last month with Heart of Illinois ABC that barges have parked there for years on a daily basis.

The permit, had it been approved, without have allowed as many as 32 barges to be moored along the island.

Chillicothe’s Save our Riverfront committee released a statement Tuesday expressing delight with the Corps’ action.

“The Corps has to consider a lot of factors and has a well-defined process it has to follow. Not having the necessary information required for that process to go forward apparently has brought it to a halt, we hope, permanently,” said Mike Krost, a Save our Riverfront spokesperson.

In the same news release, Chillicothe Mayor Mike Hughes thanked area residents for expressing their opposition to the plan, and to local legislators for their “interest and support.”

“We had hundreds of local residents and many visitors familiar with the area express strong opposition to having barges moored on the island,” said the mayor.

“The property now is primarily in its natural state. People want it to stay that way. As it is, the riverfront will continue to be a big draw for our community,” Mayor Hughes also said.

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