- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Plans to reopen a state-owned eastern Illinois resort with a long history of problems are on hold again after the company contracted to redevelop the site backed out.

BMDD Resorts Corp. of Decatur has pulled out of work with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to rehab and reopen the Eagle Creek Resort on Lake Shelbyville. Eagle Creek is about 60 miles southwest of Champaign. Company President Dennis Ballinger said Tuesday that his company had tired of trying to reach an agreement with the department on how to proceed at the resort.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Ballinger, whose company was chosen from five bidders in 2010 to do the work. “I guess I’m a little relieved, too, to be honest with you, because it’s been nothing but one thing after another.”

But the Department of Natural Resources accused the company of abandoning the resort, which has been closed since 2009. The department says it is checking to see if the company has any remaining financial obligations.

“After BMDD recently abandoned the resort, the agency is reviewing BMDD’s obligations under the lease and the status of the resort, and will continue to take strong measures to ensure that the interests of the taxpayers of Illinois, and the Lake Shelbyville communities, are protected,” a department statement said.

The state and the company have disagreed over how to move ahead. That includes the question of who would pay to upgrade the resort’s sewage system, a project that could cost about $1 million.

The 138-room lodge and golf course has been closed since 2009 after mold was found throughout the building.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, whose district includes Eagle Creek, said it’s likely the state will seek a new operator.

And DNR spokesman Chris McCloud said the department is looking for ways to try to open the golf course this summer.

Ballinger said he believes the resort can succeed, but he says his company has spent more than $3 million that he doesn’t anticipate getting back.

“We found the resort located in a beautiful location with a tremendous potential,” he said.


Information from: The News-Gazette, https://www.news-gazette.com

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