Construction Begins On New Beardstown Pool

BEARDSTOWN — After years of work, including a year of being put on hiatus due to the state budget impasse, the Beardstown Park District broke ground on its new swimming pool.

This week, crews are pouring concrete at the site of the new pool in Roy Roberts Park, across from the Schewe Community Center, following a groundbreaking on July 26. By next year, kids will be able to enjoy splash pads, zip lines, and water slides made possible through state grants, fundraising, and park district funds.

“It’ll have water slides and diving boards, but one of the main things the kids wanted that very few pools, if any, have around here is a zip line,” said Beardstown Park District Director Jason Brockschmidt, explaining that the district had polled first graders through high school seniors to find out what they would want at the pool. “We were happy to incorporate that.”

When completed, this pool will fill the void left by the closure of the last city pool in 2011. The community pool was closed by the Illinois Department of Public Health due to leaks that were not feasible to fix and maintain as well as lack of handicap accessibility.

After its closure, Brockschmidt said the process to acquire a grant began. A long-term plan and an architectural design were formed over a little over two years and in 2014 the district acquired a $2 million grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to make the project a possibility.

In 2015, all work on the project was suspended as the state ceased paying out the grant monies following the ongoing budget impasse. Approximately one year later, the funds were released and the project began once again.

The construction being done by Contegra Construction out of Edwardsville should be completed either by the end of the year or very early next year. Brockschmidt said he hopes to have the pool open for kids to enjoy by summer of 2018.

Around 15 lifeguards will have to be hired along with seven to eight staff members to keep the pool in operation. Brockshmidt said that fundraising efforts remain ongoing for those who want to donate, as the park district has spent around $600,000 on the $3.1 million project so far.

Beardstown Mayor Leslie Harris said she’s happy that the district’s work to make the pool a reality is finally coming to fruition for kids to enjoy during the hot weather.

“I’m very excited about this new pool being built and excited for children growing up in the community to enjoy it,” Harris said. “As a child, I remember going out and swimming at the Beardstown pool. Now the children of Beardstown will have that same opportunity.”

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By Nick Draper

ndraper@myjournalcourier.com

Nick Draper can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @nick_draper.

Nick Draper can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @nick_draper.

Source : http://www.myjournalcourier.com/news/112362/construction-begins-on-new-beardstown-pool

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