City leaders in Galesburg are encountering pushback to a plan for expanding Lake Storey to four times its current size.
The idea behind the plan is to bring new economic, recreational, and housing opportunities to the community.
The city released the first phase of its feasibility study in mid-December, just before the holiday season. The council planned this week to talk about the next phase, but instead tabled the discussion.
That did not stop numerous residents from speaking out. Some told council members the plan was moving forward too quickly while others were concerned about the study’s cost.
“Even though a preliminary study has been provided to the public, it would be good practice to partner with the community to answer questions as much as is possible with the results of the preliminary study,” Kristine Crow told the city council. (note: Crow is running for mayor in the April election)
She also said the city should collect more input from residents before deciding whether to proceed.
The proposed project would require the acquisition of approximately 900 acres. The lake would be expanded by 427 acres, and public parks and open spaces would increase to about 180 acres.
The plan also calls for creating new residential and mixed-use neighborhoods to attract residents and expand Galesburg’s population
Phase Two of the study would include additional fieldwork, research, and community outreach. The price tag is $125,000.
Resident Mitchell Gibson spoke in favor of spending the money and said the project is exactly what the community needs.
“It takes money to make money. We’re talking $125,000 for a population of approximately 30,000. That’s $4 per person. That’s not that much money to bring life back to the Lake,” Gibson said.
“I’ve heard stories from my grandparents and my mom, talk about the good times at Lake Storey . . .. This is what the town needs. If it takes a little money to get what we need, then so be it.”
As to the next step, City Clerk Kelli Bennewitz said the Phase Two study will be on the agenda for the next city council meeting on January 19.