Dams to be removed, but some don’t want them gone

Local News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Two defunct dams that are blamed for killing several people are finally coming down.

But many who use the areas around the dams to fish say they’re worried they won’t be able to catch anything after they’re removed.

One of those spots is in Elsworth Park, the other is behind the public safety building.

City leaders are moving toward removing them this summer. We spoke with fishermen at Elsworth Park today who are upset. Even though the city says the dams are a hazard, fishermen say it’s one of their favorite spots.

“I really like it here, this is what I do all the time. I don’t do nothing but come fishing.”

Rosemary Jones says she comes to this spot of Elsworth Park every day to fish.

“I don’t like a lot of noise so I go fishing where it’s quiet and peaceful.”

And the fish here are bitin’. It’s part of the reason Jones, and many other fishermen don’t want the dams to go.

“The people I’ve talked to don’t want them to do it because they’ll mess up the fishing.”

But city leaders say the process to remove them will start this summer.

That was always the plan for the dam here, with the removal of the dam behind the public safety building next.

Over the past 35 years the dams have been blamed for the deaths of at least seven people. The city decided to remove them in 2013.
“At first they said they wouldn’t because they didn’t have the money.”

The state budget impasse put things on pause, but now the money is there.

For fishermen like Damen Hagan, it could be the end of family tradition.

“I loved the peace and quiet of fishing, and I loved coming out here with family going fishing.”

He’s also worried the dam removal will mess with fishing here.

“They’re not going to like the fact they’re getting rid of it.”

“I don’t think these people should remove this dam because it’s the only recreation around.”

The mayor says when the project is done, people will be able to travel the river from Danville all the way to the Wabash.

We don’t know how far off that reality is. We’re still waiting on a date for construction to start.

The state handled the bid to remove the dam behind the public safety building, so the mayor says he doesn’t know exactly how much it will cost. He says he was told it will cost much less than they thought. 

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