By Emily Small
With the Covid-19 crisis and rising water significant contributors to how the upcoming season will look, the Department of Natural Resources and Friends of Rock Island are focusing on finishing old projects and beginning new ones.
According to FORI president Tina Jacoby, last season saw the installation of brand-new campfire grates with swivel hinges in all forty sites. FORI also upgraded the woodlot shed with a new roof.
A bench in honor of iconic Rock Island naturalist Paul King was added to the grounds. Also, last season marked the first one in which FORI held the contract for securing Rock’s firewood. According to Jacoby, their decision to hire a third party to provide (including delivery) bundled firewood received positive feedback from campers.
There are several new projects in the works. The Observer spoke at length with Jacoby and Michelle Hefty, Rock Island park manager about those projects.
The pavilion, referred to as the pagoda, located on the large lawn behind the boathouse, is currently under construction and restoration. One corner was sinking, leading to concerns about the safety of the nearly one-hundred-year-old structure. Hefty said, “my greatest fear was there was going to be a critical fail…[that’s] not happening.” She said the Wisconsin Department of Administration is heading the project. Immel Construction received the bid for general contractor and there “are workers over there right now” according to Jacoby.
Hefty says they have removed every rock on the foundation, categorized them, and will replace them using historical photographs. “It’s kind of amazing,” says Hefty.
Read the rest of the story in this week’s issue.
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