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Future of Dixon boat docks ‘up to the community’

Docks, canoe elements could cost $250,000

DIXON – The idea to install boat docks along the downtown riverfront hasn’t been abandoned, but is in a bit of a holding pattern.

Discussion about installing the docks dates back to at least 2012. Recently, the idea for the project has grown to include possible canoe launch and portage locations, so canoers can get around dams.

Larry Reed, of the Riverfront Commission, said the new cost for the project could be about $250,000. A previous estimate, without the canoe elements, was $125,000.

While grant applications have been submitted, fundraising remains an issue.

Reed said the project won’t catch much steam until residents are vocal about a desire for the docks.

“It’s up to the community,” he said.

Mayor Jim Burke said he favors boat docks, which could also be an economic benefit to the city.

“It’s the only way to make that riverfront compete, the way I look at it,” he said.

Burke said restaurants could post menus on a board near the dock or at Heritage Square and make deliveries specifically for boaters.

Last Saturday, Dixon had its first Venetian Night at the downtown riverfront. It’s events like that, Burke said, that highlight the value and possibilities of expanding boat access to the downtown riverfront.

Canoe portage locations could be placed east of downtown, near Howell Park, Reed said, with the launch locations being near the Galena Avenue bridge.

The boat docks could be on either side of the river and closer to the Peoria Avenue bridge, but no specific locations have been finalized.

The Riverfront Commission and Dixon Main Street merged in April, with Main Street absorbing the majority of day-to-day operations and event planning along the downtown riverfront.

The boat docks project was one that the Riverfront Commission kept after the merger.

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