Beckman Harbor collapse

The sidewalk along the docks at Beckman Harbor disappears into the Kankakee River after a large stretch of the pathway collapsed. READ MORE.

The Kankakee Valley Park District should know soon how extensive the damages are to Beckman Harbor and how soon it can be rectified.

Dayna Heitz, KVPD executive director, said an insurance claims adjuster and a marine engineer are expected Wednesday to assess the damage. The dock on the north wall of Beckman Harbor collapsed into the water after heavy rains on Oct. 2 inundated Kankakee.

The park district property is insured through Park District Risk Management Agency, and there’s a $1,000 deductible. Heitz said at Tuesday’s board of commissioners meeting that she’s not sure what PDRMA will cover and what it won’t.

“I don’t have a time frame yet,” she said. “We’re supposed to be starting to take those docks out. The docks will be totally removed from the harbor and put into the parking lot. And they will do their assessment.”

PDRMA’s adjuster will also look at the park district’s cameras to see if any footage of the collapse is available to determine what happened.

All of the boats were supposed to be removed from the harbor by this past Sunday, but there are still five boats remaining. It’s hopeful the remaining boats will be removed this week.

“Of those five, only two were from the north wall, so the other three were from other spots [in the harbor],” Heitz said.

The park district will also salvage as many of the remaining docks as it can. Some of those that collapsed into the harbor won’t be able to be retrieved.

KVPD pays an annual premium of just more than $38,000 per year to PDRMA to insure all of its properties, vehicles, workers compensation and general liability. The district hasn’t made any damage claims this year.

The actual age of Beckman Harbor is unknown, although Heitz was told by a KVPD staff member it was possibly constructed in the late 1950s or early ‘60s. Former City of Kankakee mayor Russell Johnson contacted the Daily Journal and said the harbor was there in 1950 when his family moved to Kankakee from Chicago when he was 6 years old.

Russell also said the north wall of the harbor was repaired in 1982 or 1983. He said the top of the dock was removed, and there was mostly sand underneath. Russell said that said was removed and replaced with stones, and the concrete slabs were put back on the top of the dock.

“That’s how we made it to last another 35 years,” he said. “It just needs to be redone.”

Associate Editor

Chris Breach is the Associate Editor of The Daily Journal and the editor of the business section. A graduate of Indiana University, Breach has more than 25 years experience in newspapers. He can be reached at