Developer Kim Blickenstaff announces 200-acre resort, retreat area for Spring Bay

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SPRING BAY, Ill. — Developer Kim Blickenstaff announced Friday the new regional resort and retreat he has planned for his hometown of Spring Bay.

The 200-acre property will be called the Sankoty Lakes Resort and Retreat, and it is a joint initiative between Blickenstaff and Spring Bay businessman Dwayne Atherton. It will be constructed at 1583 Spring Bay Road, on the west side of Illinois Route 26.

The property already boasts three lakes, which along with a mile-long, man-made trout stream will be the centerpieces of a getaway destination that will include camping and an RV park. It will be a four-season event venue featuring fishing and off-site hunting, along with bird watching, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, scuba diving and more.

Hiking trails will be a mainstay, including the potential for elevated boardwalks through a 40-acre wetland area.

Guides and outfitters will be available to enhance those experiences.

The site also will be kid-friendly, with a beach, picnic area, sports courts, playground, and entertainment stage. Blickenstaff said environmental education will be a priority. A fish hatchery and a fish science facility are also part of the plan.

“It’s been in my head since I was a little kid,” said Atherton, whose family first bought into the property about 20 years ago. “Ever since I hunted and fished this property, I’ve had the idea of creating something like this.”

This is a multi-million dollar investment that will be implemented in phases. They would also potentially build a lodge, complete with a spa and restaurant, if there is a demand for it.

“I grew up in Spring Bay so my interest there is very strong,” said Blickenstaff, the California-based biomedical entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

Blickenstaff and Atherton also are working together on Al Fresco Park in Peoria Heights.

“Al Fresco is a place where people can go for the day,” said Blickenstaff. “This is a place where people can go for the weekend or the week.”

“We want to help change the reputation of the Illinois River and really help people explore it,” added Herman. “It is so much cooler than most people realize.”

The Sankoty Resort and Retreat should begin taking visitors next spring, though there could be ice fishing opportunities yet this winter. More information including 2020 season packages is available at its website,

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