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By Carissa Sitki
Illinois American Water made a $10,000 donation, on Monday, to the Calhoun Community Swimming Pool for repairs it desperately needs.
The pool was forced to shut down earlier this summer due to severe leaks. According to the Calhoun Community Pool Association, it was losing nearly one third of its water every day. They will be applying for an Illinois Department of Natural Resources grant for up to $600,000, but do not know how much, if any funds, they will receive.
“If we get this, we could update everything,” said Pool Association President Dick Lieber, “but they won’t let us know if we’ve got the grant for at least three or four months.”
Lieber thanked the American Water representatives, calling the company’s move “generous.”
This is quite generous of you,” said Lieber. “Thank you, thank you.”
Senior Supervisor of Operations of Field Services for Illinois American Water of Jerseyville Brendan St. Peters told Lieber that the company is trying to get involved in the community since they are new to Hardin.
“I think this is the start of a great partnership between the pool and American Water,” said St. Peters. “We want everyone to know that we are here and an active part of the community. This is just the start.”
St. Peters also mentioned that there are potential grant opportunities through American Water.
“American Water has a charitable foundation,” said St. Peters, “and there are environmental grants as well, so those may be possibilities.”
Brussels Mayor Emily Fortschneider, who is also a member of the Jersey Calhoun Jaycees, contacted American Water about the issue, asking if they would be willing to help.
“I emailed American Water, telling them about the situation with our pool,” said Fortschneider. “I told them it would be great if they could contribute and help save it.”
The Jaycees have been collecting money for the pool throughout the summer, setting up $1 fishing for kids during local events and festivals. Fortschneider said saving the pool is important for her, as the pool holds a lot of memories.
“This pool means a lot to me, my grandma helped get this pool started–she was part of the Lions Club,” said Fortschneider. “And it’s the place where I had my first swimming lessons.”
Ethan W Steinacher, Senior Manager, Operations – Illinois American Water’s Central Division elaborated on the company’s decision to make the donation, with the following statement, “The voluntary donation by Illinois American Water was made on September 19 to help the Calhoun Community Pool Association make repairs to a large leak in the community pool in Hardin. The pool is extremely important to the community and its residents — our new customers — especially local youth during the summer months. We want to be part of the solution. The first step is investigating to find the cause of the leak. This donation will be used toward these initial exploratory costs. The community is ALL IN to save our community pool and we are part of the community.”
Due to the extensive nature of the necessary repairs, it is unlikely that the pool will be able to open next summer, according to the Pool Association.