Last week's storm may delay opening of Quarry Beach in Batavia
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Last week's flood-producing storm may delay the opening of Harold Hall Quarry Beach.
The heavy rainfall washed sand in the basin around, leading to an uneven surface and varying depths, said Allison Niemela, executive director of the Batavia Park District. Some movement of sand occurs every winter and spring in the empty basin.
But the rainfall also filled the Quarry to within 1 foot of its capacity, delaying the district's ability to get equipment in there to regrade the sand, which it does every year. Uneven sand is considered unsafe because it makes for unknown water depths in spots, Niemela said.
"Sand erosion is our greatest fear," she said.
The new liner the district installed in 2012 seems to have held up, she said. It prevents water from Quarry Beach from leaking in to the nearby Fox River. The river used to be higher than the Quarry's bedrock bottom, but in 2004 the state removed the south Batavia dam, and the river level dropped 18 inches. Quarry Beach began losing an estimated 250,000 gallons of water a day through its walls and holes in its liner.
The Quarry's sump pumps are operating around the clock to get rid of the water.
"We need Mother Nature to cooperate with us in the upcoming weeks if we are going to open the Quarry in time," Niemela said.
It is scheduled to open June 1.
In other flooding developments:
• River water was still up Tuesday over the asphalt portion of the Riverwalk, behind the Riverrain Apartments, she said.
• The river was still covering most of Clark Island Park on Tuesday. Niemela said it is likely plants underneath the water, including the lawns, will need to be replaced. That could affect special events to be held in the park. Batavia MainStreet is due to have its annual "Cocktails on Clark" fundraiser there May 18. A Shakespeare play is usually performed there in July and August.
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