Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

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June 30, 2014

EWA, lease-holder have big plans for Lake Sara beach

EFFINGHAM — The small beach on the north shore of Lake Sara may be the best-kept secret in Effingham County.

The beach is open again after it had been shut down last year because of concerns over an overabundance of goose droppings. In fact, it has been open since Memorial Day.

Danny Hankins, who leases from the Effingham Water Authority the land that includes the beach, said an unusually harsh winter seems to have solved the goose issue.

"I think the severe winter weather helped us more than anything," Hankins said. "The geese seemed to have moved on."

EWA board chairman Chris Kabbes said the board recognizes the value of a viable Lake Sara beach to the community.

"Any upgrade would be part of a bigger picture," Kabbes said. "Danny [Hankins] is looking at his options, and a Parks & Recreation Committee has been formed to look at ways to improve the beach area."

Kabbes said the board, committee and Hankins are "still in the talking stages."

Hankins, however, complained that the board is keeping him from making any significant improvements to the beach area.

"EWA won't agree to anything," he said. "If they would allow a guy to do something, we could really make it a nice place."

If nothing else, the beach is open and those who are using it appear to be enjoying themselves, Hankins said.

"Most people I have talked to seem satisfied," he said.

Kabbes said the board will continue to work with Hankins, even though the board hasn't approved the leaseholders first few proposals.

"We want to do what's best for the lake community and the water authority," he said. "Even though the first or second options Danny presented might not be what we want right now, we will continue to work with him."

Bill Grimes may be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes.

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