Camping, fishing, boating and the great outdoors, all bundled into a beautiful resort and retreat right at the heart of Illinois: Sankoty Lakes. This incredible location opened to the public at the beginning of 2021 and is home to trout fishing, kayaking, glamping, hiking and much more! And Austin Engineering is proud to have assisted with the completion of this ambitious project. Sankoty is a true example of restoration at work.
If you’ve lived near Spring Bay, Illinois, within the last few years, Sankoty Lakes wouldn’t have existed yet! All you would find at its location would be an old mineral extraction site. It was the dream of the self-proclaimed “River Rats” Dwayne Antherton and Kim Blickenstaff to turn this bunch of gravel pits into beautiful and fully stocked lakes right alongside the Illinois River. And now, folks from all over come to visit Sankoty Lakes, one of the few great luxury campsites you can find in Central Illinois.
Another unique feature of Sankoty Lakes is their year-round offering of trout fishing. Herman Brothers Lake and Pond Management collaborated with contractors to create a man-made trout stream that can be fished all year long. The original gravel pits were incredibly deep, allowing these artificial streams to tap water from one of the largest water aquifers in this area of the country. The depth of the aquifer allows water to stay at the perfect cool temperature, helping trout live and prosper, even out of season!
When Austin Engineering first began to work with Sankoty Lakes, we were tasked with acquiring the appropriate public health permits from the state. Campground permits are different from the standard and sometimes require more “running to ground” to ensure everything is allowed and up-to-code. While Austin Engineering often enjoys design work and surveying for our clients, Sankoty Lakes highlight an incredibly crucial part of our industry that can sometimes be overlooked: land permits!
Furthermore, due to the location of Sankoty Lakes, it wasn’t near a public sewer or water system. Thus, Austin Engineering worked to secure the appropriate permits for a specialized septic tank system. And permitting the “glamping tents” was an entirely different challenge for our engineers! Thankfully, with some significant effort, we were able to acquire all the appropriate permits, helping Sankoty Lakes finalize their campsite and resort design and construction.
Finally, while Austin Engineering cannot take credit for the intricate designs of the man-made lakes, trout streams and other recreational features, we provided much of the survey work related to these projects. It just goes to show what incredible work can be done with collaboration from multiple teams of civil engineers, designers, and landscape experts.
What’s truly amazing about Sankoty Lakes Resorts and Retreats is the way it came to be. The goal of Sankoty Lakes was a true revitalization of nature. What was, for many years, unsightly gravel pits off the coast of the Illinois River quickly came to be a beautiful locale teeming with nature and wildlife. When folks consider what civil engineering and landscape design are, they primarily think of the work that goes into a town or city. For Sankoty Lakes, this was different. Austin Engineering worked alongside numerous teams to bring a new nature resort to life. And by overcoming the challenges of working in a flood plain, acquiring the appropriate permits, and making the land accessible to people and nature, a fantastic project was accomplished.
With summer here, Austin Engineering’s season is just starting to heat up! We have dozens of more projects on the horizon and are excited to share some of the most interesting ones with you! And, if looking to get started on a project yourself, feel free to reach out to our team. Whether as civil engineers, landscape designers or property surveyors, we can lay the groundwork for your next successful construction. To learn more, contact us today at 309-204-0694. Also, our corporate office is located at 311 SW Water St, Ste 215, Peoria, IL 61602.