Heritage Harbor Ottawa Back Into the Swing of the Season Following Midwest Flood

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Heritage Harbor Ottawa, premiere resort and marina community in Ottawa, Ill., is happy to announce minimal affect from the Illinois River’s second record-setting flood — no major damage or safety concerns were experienced at the resort facility.

Sunset at Heritage Harbor Ottawa

Sunset at Heritage Harbor Ottawa

“We are blessed that we came through this flood so well; Mother Nature can always be unpredictable. But we're also extremely proud of the planning we did beforehand; it certainly paid off.”

Heritage Harbor Ottawa, premiere resort and marina community in Ottawa, Ill., is happy to announce minimal affect from the Illinois River’s second record-setting flood — no major damage or safety concerns were experienced at the resort facility.

“We've never seen the Illinois River rise so quickly,” Tammy Barry of Heritage Harbor said of the 2013 spring flood that plagued most of the Midwest. “We knew that we'd likely face some flooding as the Illinois River rose, but had no idea that we'd be 6 to 7 feet over normal so quickly. By the time the river crested, it was close to 16 feet over normal.”

Barry explained that the entire Heritage Harbor Ottawa team kept a close watch throughout the April rising waters and took all the precautions they could in order to anticipate an out-the-ordinary Spring season. Then, as soon as the flood waters began to recede, the team switched into immediate recovery mode.

“We quickly switched into recovery mode, rallied our cleanup team, and enjoyed seeing many of our guests already enjoying themselves the weekend following the heavy rains and flood waters. Tracy's Boat House, the resort’s marina-side restaurant, opened back up and except for the water still being high, things quickly looked close to normal again. Then, in the following few weeks, we actually hosted quite a few boats from other marinas that were more seriously affected by the flooding.”

During the April 2013 flood, rising waters ravaged dozens of counties in Illinois, forcing thousands of residents from their homes. The Army Corps of Engineers closed three of its locks to all river traffic until flooding subsided.

So, how did Heritage Harbor remain safe and secure during the flooding? Why do some waterfront communities stand the test of time even when faced with some difficulty? According to Barry, it’s the uniqueness of the Heritage Harbor Ottawa team, a caring community and a well-planned harbor design.

As the communities along the Illinois River picked up the pieces following the flood, Barry said the Heritage Harbor team looked for any way to help other Starved Rock Country homeowners, businesses and towns along the river who were not as fortunate.

“In the coming months, we'll still be looking to help them any way,” she said. “We are blessed that we came through this flood so well; Mother Nature can always be unpredictable. But we're also extremely proud of the planning we did beforehand; it certainly paid off.

“Before we constructed the harbor, we – and many experts — designed everything to withstand (or remain above) the 100-year floodplain, with room to spare. We're pleased that our marina infrastructure withstood record flooding, now for the second time, exactly as it was designed to do.”

Barry outlined the following harbor design elements that played a part in the continued survival and success of Heritage Harbor Ottawa:

  •     Location of all home sites and other permanent buildings are above the floodplain.
  •     Construction of the marina basin was completed so it will remain segregated from river current at flood levels well in excess of the floodplain, along with seawalls and upland berms that will maintain integrity in these situations.
  •     Dock piling or "spud poles" that are long enough to maintain the dock structures in place at flood levels well in excess of the floodplain. These poles are attached with extended piling sleeves that not only stretch the flood range of the spud poles even further, but also maintain structural resistance to dock movement in both normal and high-water situations. The quantity and placement of these spud poles and sleeves are designed to resist lateral forces of current and wind - and stay in place - even when the docks are fully loaded with boats.
  •     Dock walkways that are pinned at one end and slide at the other, so that they stay in place as the docks move up and down, even at water levels well above the floodplain.
  •     A robust electrical system on the docks that allows power to be safely maintained in flood situations - meaning that bilge systems in the boats can remain in operation indefinitely throughout floods and the heavy rains that typically accompany them.
  •     A commercial-grade launch ramp that remains usable in moderate flood situations, and for that matter, low-water situations as well.
  •     High placement of our travel-lift well, such that it also can remain usable in moderate (appx. 7' over normal) flood situations.
  •     And of course, the marina facility is managed year-round by professionals with deep experience in marina operations, and staffed by a crew that is second-to-none when it comes to safety, security, professionalism and courtesy.

For more information or to take a tour of the Heritage Harbor waterfront homes and cottages, contact Tammy Barry of Heritage Harbor Ottawa at 815-433-5000.

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Tammy Barry
Heritage Harbor Ottawa
815-433-5000
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