March 27, 2013

Corps dodges bullet on furloughs, closing rec areas

By Suzanne Werre, BHG News Service

As of last Tuesday, it looked like a couple of the county’s often-used recreation areas might be closed this summer due to government funding cuts. A week later, it seems more likely the two popular recreation areas will probably be able to stay open. Ryan Newman and Tim Kolke of the US Army Corps of Engineers told McLean County Commissioners at last Tuesday’s meeting that there was a good likelihood the Wolf Creek and East Totten Trail recreation areas would be closed due to cutbacks and the Corps possibly being furloughed, meaning the employees would be cut back to four-day work weeks. The cutback of hours per week would probably require the Corps to shut down the more “labor intensive” recreation areas, said Newman, which would definitely include Wolf Creek, and possibly East Totten. “That would be a substantial blow to the recreating public,” said Newman. According to Kolke, the Corps on Friday did receive notice that it would not be furloughed, meaning the Corps employees would not be cut back to four-day work weeks, but as of yesterday (Tuesday), Kolke was not sure how that would impact the potential closing of the two recreation areas and referred the question to Newman, but Newman could not be reached for comment.

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