DANVILLE — As boating picks up on Lake Vermilion this spring, plans are in motion to again make gasoline available at the Vermilion County Conservation District's boat dock on the west side of the lake.
Boaters have been without a fuel supply on the lake since last June when the Illinois fire marshal's office would not approve the county's fuel pump station, located at the county's concession stand at the boat ramp on the west side of the lake.
The marshal's office required the county to get new equipment, according to Ken Konsis, director of the conservation district. Konsis said the district got a quote for new equipment, and it was $50,000, a price too steep for the district. The most the district has ever made on fuel at the boat dock in a season was $2,000, he said.
But this spring, a group of homeowners around the lake came to a conservation district meeting and expressed their concerns with having no fueling station on the lake. Konsis said the district asked them to help, and they began seeking donations and also alternative quotes for the equipment.
One of the homeowners, attorney Steve Miller, said they were able to find a more affordable quote for $30,000. And Konsis said about 24 homeowners donated the money to pay for the work.
Last week, the conservation district board approved the work, and once the contractor receives a permit from the state fire marshal's office, the installation will begin.
Miller said there's been a gas pump on the lake for the last 50 years. He said being without it last year had an adverse affect on those who dock their boats on the lake, because it's difficult to haul gas five gallons at a time up and down hills, often in the heat, and it's difficult to take the boats out of the lake to fill them. He said it's also a safety precaution to have a ready supply on the lake, because boats can easily run low out on the water.
Miller said as soon as the contractor gets the permit, the equipment will be ordered, so the hope is that everything should be installed by mid-June. Konsis said the fueling station will work as it has in the past with county conservation personnel at the concession building running the pump.