Canal lease offers opportunities
Few communities in America can say they have a canal flowing through town. Rock Falls leaders are correct to explore more ways to leverage this resource.
Rock Falls Mayor David Blanton’s proposal that the city lease a 2.2-mile stretch of the state-owned Hennepin Canal Parkway, annex it, maintain it, and improve it sounds like a good idea.
The cash-strapped state of Illinois doesn’t have to money to keep the canal in good repair. Rather than watch the 105-year-old waterway deteriorate, city officials want to step in.
First, a history lesson. The Illinois and Mississippi Canal was finished in 1907 by the federal government. The canal linked the Illinois River at Hennepin with the Mississippi River near Colona. To fill the east-west canal with water, a north-south feeder canal was built from Bureau County northward to the Rock River at Rock Falls. On a map, the whole thing looks rather like an upside-down “T.”
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