DECATUR -- The city’s $89 million dredging project for Lake Decatur is under way, but wet weather has kept the work from progressing too far.
The Decatur City Council hired Great Lakes Dredge & Dock in February to perform the work, which is expected to restore 30 percent of the lake’s capacity over the next six years. It will dredge Basins 1, 2, 3 and 4, and increase the capacity of a sediment basin in Oakley Township to hold the additional material.
The company held a job fair at the Decatur Public Library in late February and attracted more than 400 applicants.
But with wet weather delaying much of the earthwork that marks the project’s first stages, only five local people have been hired. The number of nonlocal hires fluctuates but is at least six, said Keith Alexander, the city’s director of water management.
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Jon Nieman, vice president of the company’s Rivers and Lakes division, said the company would hire 25 to 30 people for the first stage of the project this year, and about half that for the rest of the length of the project.
“It’s been really, really wet. The earthwork out in Oakley is just getting started. … As soon as they bring more equipment in, they’re planning on hiring some more. It’s just very little activity presently,” Nieman said.
Many of the people who submitted applications during the job fair did not have the experience the company is looking for, he said. That includes having worked with heavy machinery or being skilled in specific areas such as welding and diesel mechanics.