Rock Island, Ill. -- (Aug. 24, 2011) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, invites the public and media to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, Saturday, Aug., 27 at 10 a.m.
The ceremony celebrates the completion of renovations to the Visitor Center which has been serving the public since 1978. For more than 30 years the Visitor Center has provided an educational resource to those interested in the Corps of Engineers and its many water resources development missions.
Connected to the Starved Rock Lock and Dam on the Illinois River, the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center has experienced several floods over the years. The basement of the building has flooded periodically affecting offices and the center’s auditorium. Flood Supplemental funding was allocated to renovate the Visitor Center in 2010. The Corps of Engineers awarded a contract to Hammer LGC, Inc., of Caseyville, Ill., to construct an addition to the Visitor Center.
The addition moves offices and the auditorium out of the basement. The addition also extends the balcony and adds an elevator to make the balcony accessible to those with disabilities.
“For those of us who work at the Visitor Center, these renovations make a world of difference,” said Kevin Ewbank, Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist. “We take great pride in our facility and our ability to provide the public with a valuable educational resource. I think people who use the Visitor Center will get a much better experience now that the renovations are complete.”
The $2.6 million contract included work on Starved Rock Lock’s central control station to improve the basement, making it more flood resistant. The contractor added a removable bulkhead outside the basement door and a new flood lift station to prevent flood waters from backing up during high water events. Other work includes structural repairs to entrance steps and brick and mortar repairs to the historic building’s exterior.
The Rock Island District of the Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains eight locks and dams on the Illinois River. The Illinois Waterway Visitor Center is the District’s primary interface with the public providing exhibits and interpretation of the building and maintaining of the Illinois Waterway System and the history of water transportation in Illinois. The visitor center is located at 950 North 27th Street, Ottawa, Ill.
For more information about the ribbon cutting ceremony, please contact Allen Marshall at (309) 794-5204 or Kevin Ewbank at (815) 667-4054.