Plan presented to restore Credit Island Lodge

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Wednesday, the Credit Island Lodge Task Force presented a plan to restore the historic building at no cost to taxpayers.

On May 2, 2013, fire engulfed the clubhouse. Initial construction on the lodge is believed to have begun in 1922, so for many, the building housed years of memories.

"Until we got into gas rationing, Credit Island was the place to go," recalled Task Force member Susie Bell.

In June, a task force toured the burned-out structure, and members met weekly throughout the summer to determine whether the lodge should be rebuilt, torn down, or restored. Wednesday, the group unanimously recommended to the City Council that the building be restored.

"A lot of things now are automatically torn down. If you can turn it around and recycle -- everybody talks about being green -- let's see what we can restore," said Task Force member Mary Cormier.

The plan involves restoring as much as historically possible, right down to an old-fashioned wood shake roof. To meet FEMA regulations, vents would be put under the windows on both sides of the building, allowing the river to run through it during floods. It would all be paid for with the lodge's $1.2 million in insurance money from the fire.

Now, it's up to the City Council to approve the recommendation.

"I go down there, I get a little nostalgic, and I'm sure the mayor does too, hoping that you could salvage it. And I thought that probably would be the consensus," said Alderman Barney Barnhill.

Not all the council members, though, seem on board.

"I'd like to see an alternative to fixing up the old, and try building something new, something breathtaking, something that we'll all be proud of," said Alderman Ray Ambrose.

The Task Force will now present its plan to the Parks and Recreation Department, before it's put on the agenda for the City Council's consideration.