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DePue wants a dam

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:03 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:22 p.m. CST

DEPUE – DePue has sent a request to build a temporary dam in the channel that connects Lake DePue and the Illinois River.

On Monday, village President Eric Bryant announced an application was sent to Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

The application requests a temporary dam be placed for two and one-half years, which Bryant said would “hopefully” allow time until a decision is made on whether or not a permanent dam should be built in its place.

On Tuesday, Bryant explained there are many reasons the dam is needed. Overall, it would bring recreation back to the lake, he said.

“If we have a dam, we can regulate the water that’s in (the lake),” he said. “It would make it a lake that could be used again.”

Last July, within two weeks of the annual APBA Pro-National Boat Races, the event was threatened with the possibility of moving it elsewhere due to Lake DePue reaching record low levels. The village scrambled for resources and manpower to build a temporary dam out of sandbags as water was pumped from the river into the lake.

Luckily, water levels rose in time to host the village’s popular tourist attraction, but the thought of low lake levels threatening the boat races again is haunting. Bryant said that’s something the village doesn’t want to have to go through again.

Although the current heavy rains have caused the lake to rise and flood parts of the village, Bryant is still concerned about the possibility of “bone dry” July conditions.

“You just never know,” he said.

If the temporary dam is approved by the IDNR, Bryant said funds will be used from the Save the Lake Fund, DePue Men’s Club and the village to cover the costs. Bryant is hopeful that enough donations are gathered to help fund the construction of the project.

For now, the village waits for the green light from IDNR to build the temporary dam.

“In our conservation with people at DNR, it sounded very positive,” Bryant said on Monday.

Once approved, the village will bid the project and wait for the “right conditions” to build.

In other business, the board:

• Approved to amend an ordinance that regulates part-time police officer pay. The ordinance now states that every part-time police officer will be paid $1 less per hour than full-time police officers.

• Approved to spend no more than $2,000 for sod in White City Park.

• Approved to allow DePue Men’s Club to solicit for a program booklet.

• Approved a special event liquor license for the upcoming fire department fundraiser.

• Approved to renew all village liquor licenses.

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