Project Spotlights

Sheets Creek Saloon

Sheets Creek Saloon

Project Details:

  • Development of a parcel of land for a new restaurant, the Sheets Creek Saloon, located near Sankoty Lakes in Spring Bay, IL.
  • Unique site design with additional access for RVs and golf carts from the nearby campsite.
  • Specialized waste disposal design due to lack of nearby sanitary sewer.

Austin Engineering’s Roles:

  • Sam LaHood, Project Lead
  • Site Planning
  • Private Waste Disposal

Project Description:

Austin Engineering Co. has developed land for our fair share of restaurants. So, when approaching the Sheets Creek Saloon project, we were confident in our ability to achieve our client’s vision. As we were working with a smaller parcel of land in a floodplain without access to a sanitary sewer line, we had our work cut out for us. However, the requirements for this land development project were nothing Austin Engineering hasn’t handled before.

Our first task was to draft a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F) and raise the base level of the property above the floodplain. This was done so the owners could avoid potential flooding and not require flood insurance. Thankfully, a minimal amount of fill was necessary to bring the property a little over a foot above the floodplain with a finished floor.

Next, we had to determine how to handle waste disposal for the site. Unfortunately, a lack of access to a sanitary sewer line meant we had to develop an alternative solution for the site’s waste management. Our answer was two septic tanks, a grease trap and a septic field. As the septic tanks fill and break down waste, wastewater flows into the septic field, where backfilled gravel and sand filter the water before it goes back into the water table. Luckly, we were able to utilize an existing gravel pit on-site for the septic field.

The remaining site development went off without much issue, and we were able to implement some fun custom features unique to the restaurant’s location. These unique features included 20 RV sites, access to Sankoty Lakes’ main campground, an outdoor patio, and a parking lot custom-designed for golf carts. Because it was a challenge for RV owners to navigate through Sankoty Lakes to where the RV camping was, access from Pekin Avenue through the Sheets Creek Saloon lot was much simpler to manage. Additionally, being so close to a campsite meant accommodating local campers using RVs and golf carts, hence the addition of RV spaces and golf cart parking.

Sheets Creek Saloon opened in September of 2022, sporting a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating, and Western-style décor. For the first few months of operation, restaurant goers and local campers could take advantage of the direct connection from Sheets Creek Saloon to Sankoty Lakes. Unfortunately, Sankoty Lakes was closed in January 2023 and has yet to reopen. However, that hasn’t stopped Sheets Creek Saloon from becoming the go-to bar and restaurant in Spring Bay, IL.

Project Highlights:

  • Raising the property level two to three feet using fill to lift the parcel of land from the floodplain.
  • Our prior experience assisting Sankoty Lakes with land development uniquely positioned our firm to be in the best position for handling Sheet Creek Saloon’s site planning requirements.
  • Working with Sankoty Lakes to create additional access to their campground via the Sheets Creek Saloon’s lot.
  • Using existing property features to create a unique waste management system utilizing septic tanks and a septic field.
  • Designing outdoor patio space to accommodate medium-sized bands and additional live music.