|By Mike Frazier, Herald & Review,
Decatur, Ill.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Apr. 5, 2008 - DECATUR -- Two banks filed a notice of foreclosure Friday against the financially distressed Eagle Creek Resort near Findlay, but bank officials say they intend to keep the resort open.
Marine Bank of Springfield and Community Banks of Shelby County filed the notice Friday in Shelby County Circuit Court.
"It is the bank's intent to work with the current ownership to maintain the present management and staff to allow the resort and golf course to remain open and properly serve its guests. The general public should not be affected by the foreclosure action," said Howard Neuger, general counsel for Marine Bank.
"Through the cooperative efforts of the banks, the current ownership and the state of Illinois, it is believed that outstanding issues can be addressed, and Eagle Creek Resort can be financially repositioned to continue its hospitality services to the Lake Shelbyville area," he added.
The facility has struggled financially for several years. The resort was built in 1987 and sold at a foreclosure sale in 1994.
The present owner is Edelberg-Shiffman Development LLC.
Eagle Creek still owes $214,358 to Shelby County's revolving loan fund, and the last payment made on the loan was in October 2004.
Property taxes owed have been sold at tax sales for the past three years. For the previous two years, the taxes were redeemed by Marine Bank.
To aid the resort, the Shelby County Board in 2006 applied for an economic development grant under the state's community development assistance program.
Owners of the resort sought a $1.2 million grant and loan package: $400,000 from the county and $800,000 from the state.
The state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity returned the grant application to Shelby County in April 2007, effectively rejecting the request.
The resort includes a 130-room hotel, an eight-room private hotel area and an 18-hole golf course. The facility's main building spans more than 83,000 square feet.
"I regret that it has come to this because the property is a valuable asset not only to Shelby County, but to this area. It would behoove us to do everything we can to see that it remains in operation," Shelby County Board Chairman George Frazier said.
State Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, has held meetings at the resort in recent years to promote regional tourism. The resort is an important tourist draw, he said.
"My hope is that the facility can remain open not only because it's an important tourist destination, but because of the many people from the area who work there," Flider said.
A call to Barry Shiffman of Edelberg-Shiffman Development was not immediately returned Friday.
Mike Frazier can be reached at email@example.com or 421-7985.
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