Oakley Dam and Reservoir – a ‘new’ map of an old problem?

Map Found in Map Slots - Lost Garden

Map Found in Map Slots – Lost Garden

On Tuesday, October 8, 2013, photocopies of this hand rendered Plan and Elevation maps of the Sangamon River filled the map slots at the trailhead of the Lost Garden trail at Robert Allerton Park (“The Park”).

2013 10 10 Inserted Maps in the Map Slots Lost GardenThe Red Dot – You Are Here orients the visitor to approximately the Lost Garden on the South Side of the Sangamon River within The Park.

The Elevation View shows The Park underwater.

Both Plan and Elevations Views of this map refer to Oakley Dam.

The signature and date, handwritten in blue in the lower right hand corner, would indicate authorship of this map: B. Hannon 28 Sept 2013

The Oakley Dam and Reservoir Project proposal threatened Robert Allerton Park from 1964 until 1975. The US Army Corps of Engineers formally dropped the project in 1975. The proposed Oakley Dam was supported by Illinois Governors Kerner and Olgivie and most state politicians. The reservoir that would have been created was going to be named Springer Lake after Illinois Representative William Springer who strongly supported the project. The Project received federal approval in 1964 but the project failed to receive apportionment. The project promised flood prevention and recreational opportunities as well as ensured Decatur’s water needs. But, the reservoir-dam project would also have flooded prime agricultural ground as well as a large, central portion of The Park.

Leading the local opposition to the Oakley Dam controversy was a University of Illinois doctoral student, Bruce Hannon. Mr. Hannon launched The Committee On Allerton Park (COAP) in 1967. This grass roots coalition succeeded in bringing together many voices of opposition to the proposed dam and fought the project until its withdrawl. Dr. Hannon continues to be a leading voice in the preservation of Illinois waters.

It has been thirty-eight years since the file on the Oakley Dam proposalwas  closed for consideration. Does this map represent a nostalgic memory of disaster averted to this beloved sanctuary? Is the date given to this map of 28 Sept 2013 intended to give the impression that this is a new threat to The Park? Should this map carry the disclaimer that it gives a historical record of a failed proposal and does not represent real events of the present date?

Is this B. Hannon the same Bruce Hannon from the COAP and its fight to save The Park? Does COAP continue to function in 2013? Does COAP need to prelaunch?

Why this map – now?

Why this date – now?

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