Editorials

As S.S. Illinois sinks, feds bail out their dam park

Tall weeds grow at the edge of the road at the Crappie Cove Picnic Area at South Shore State Park on Carlyle Lake. The shelter in the background is decaying, and has numerous large holes in the roof.
Tall weeds grow at the edge of the road at the Crappie Cove Picnic Area at South Shore State Park on Carlyle Lake. The shelter in the background is decaying, and has numerous large holes in the roof. tvizer@bnd.com

So if you can’t afford your house, and don’t have a lot of pride, you could let the paint peel and the gutters clog in the hopes that some neighbor will be put off enough to take care of things for you.

That’s basically what Illinois did with the South Shore State Park.

The park is at the very southern tip of Carlyle Lake. It is the closest to the highways and just on the edge of the city of Carlyle — the best views on the lake, the mayor says. Illinois for about 50 years leased the land and for nearly 20 years neglected maintenance on it, instead labeling it a “watchable wildlife” area and putting their resources into the nearby Eldon Hazlet State Park.

So the feds are fed up and taking it back. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to spend the next few years maintaining the roads and bringing the facilities back up to the standards that will allow it to be used again.

Despite the embarrassment factor, that’s good news for the State of Illinois. One less financial obligation in that pile of $9.5 billion overdue bills.

It is interesting that the Corps, out of all their obligations and needs involving inland waterways and their principal mission to manage navigation, can find the money to reopen the long-neglected park.

But then if that hand reaching into the right pocket is the state, and the hand reaching into the left pocket is the feds, you can believe that the pants are yours.

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