Time to find another space

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South Beloit's City Park is an unreliable base for recreation.

IT'S A TOUGH THING to acknowledge, but South Beloit's City Park probably should be surrendered to the vicissitues of Mother Nature.

Extraordinarily wet periods - such as the area has experienced last fall and this spring - can bring flooding in many places. There are plenty of examples around the Stateline Area of public and private lands inundated by floodwaters.

Even so, City Park stands out in the extreme - and not suprisingly, since it sits so low.

In fact, history has at least three instances of the park being swamped to the point of remaining closed for years at a time. It has been costly, with damage to public facilities. Even more so, it denies residents of South Beloit the kind of recreational opportunities that now sit under water at the park.

MAYBE ALL THIS drenching and flooding can be attributed to climate change. Who knows? But it certainly seems as if 100-year or 500-year floods occur within a much shorter time frame these days.

No one can say whether that's a permanent change, but this much has been made clear: When it gets wetter around here, the park is likely to become a flooded mess and tends to stay that way.

So what are the options, if South Beloit decides to accept that Mother Nature - not city officials - is in control?

Common sense suggests South Beloit ought to find some place much more reliably dry to locate the community's primary recreational site. We're not going to suggest where that might be, but it is logical for city officials to begin the process of finding a better spot. A park that is blocked off and closed serves no one.

MIND YOU, that doesn't mean the current City Park would have no use in the future. When it's dry and accessible enough the lake and surrounding land still could be attractive for obvious purposes, while other facilities could be relocated. A comprehensive plan that takes nature into account is the sensible course to develop.

Meanwhile, city officials should believe their eyes more and their hearts less.

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