DANVILLE – One of Ellsworth Park's greatest assets may be its main challenge: the North Fork River occasionally overflows its banks, flooding much of Danville's oldest park.

That's why Steve Lane, superintendent of parks in Danville, has long been keen to install a disc golf course there.

"It's something that really fascinates me, it's a use we can have there, that the floods will not hurt," said Lane, who successfully led the city's demand for Grant of $ 373,900 for the acquisition and development of open space. Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Funding will be allocated to improve Ellsworth Park, including a nine-hole disc golf course with baskets on each hole similar to those at the Dodds Park course in Champaign.

The course would be positioned along both sides of the river, near the footbridge across the North Fork, on the north side of the park.

"You're going to play in part on one side, cross the bridge and do some holes on the east side," Lane said. "I think it will be something that will become popular and attract people from outside the city.Disco golf enthusiasts are always looking for a new course to play."

As part of another long-awaited project, IDNR plans to begin removing the Lowhead Dam on the North Fork, in Ellsworth Park, this spring, said Rick Pohlman, of the Office of Resources Resources. Ministry water.

Several years ago, Danville city councilors voted in favor of the removal of the dam, a site of many drownings over several decades.

"We expect construction to begin in early March 2019," said Pohlman. "Mobilization of equipment on the site could begin at the end of February."

Rich in local history, the land for Ellsworth Park was surrendered in 1880 by the Ellsworth Coal Co. after coal mining in the area.

By the end of the last century, Ellsworth Park was the perfect place for recreation in Danville. There was a racetrack, a 9-hole golf course and a public bathing beach along North Fork.

In regards to the floods, Mr. Lane said that other improvements planned for the park include the construction of new toilets and concessions near the northwestern entrance of the park, over the Floodplain – unlike the current lavatories and concession park.

He stated that the existing softball field, which is not used regularly, will be removed and that a new playground, a basketball court and a multifunctional field for football, the Football and other uses will be built, as well as a picnic shelter near the new playground.

"We are going to build many new sidewalks," he added, "to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in the park and improve parking."

He said that nearly one acre of unused asphalt will be removed; part of this area will be where the new playground is set up, and in another area, a lot of native vegetation will be sown.

Mr. Lane said he will know more about the timing of these improvements when he will get the latest grant instructions, but that the city, which will do most of the work internally , will have a period of two years to complete the new equipment.

Pohlman stated that the timing of the dam removal would be influenced by spring precipitation and the associated flow rates of watercourses. He said that the staff of the Office of Water Resources of IDNR, based in Havana, in western Illinois, would take charge of the kidnapping, and that the actual disposal rate would depend on the amount of reinforcement of the dam structure.

Pohlman added that the staff carrying out the work has tasks and responsibilities in all the state that can temporarily interrupt the construction work of the dam.

But, he said, it is "optimistic to wait" for the move to be completed by this summer.