Early this week, work got underway on rebuilding the shelter house at Fort Kaskaskia, but not without a bit of controversy.
The shelter house was originally constructed in 1942, but a fire on Oct. 31, 2012 destroyed it. A lot of work was done since then by several organizations to raise funding to rebuild the shelter.
It was noted that starting last week, access to the shelter area and the lookout area would be limited due to the shelter house construction, and there would also be limited parking at the site due to the construction equipment and materials.
Work on the shelter was to begin this week and hopefully wrap up by the end of October, then a ribbon cutting would be held.
While it seemed up front like exciting news that the shelter house would finally be rebuilt, this news was unfortunately not good for some couples who had weddings planned at the site in September and October.
Several of these couples were given a surprise, as they were told on Monday that they would not be able to use the site, despite having made reservations well in advance, and plans for their wedding around those reservations. For at least one local couple, this came with less than two weeks notice.
Understandably, many were upset by this and petitioned Fort Kaskaskia Site Superintendent Chester Wingerter and various elected officials, trying to right this injustice.
For more on this issue, please see this week’s print edition.