Finding funding for a public pool

A ladder at the old pool

Beardstown Park District is seeking help where ever they can get it to build a new public pool.

The multimillion dollar project will replace a dated pool that failed an annual inspection.

"Everyone wants to swim in Beardstown, and this year they were all sad because they didn't have anywhere to go," Raquel Rawlins said. Raquel and her friends spent time together at the pool last summer.

During one of the hottest summers on record, Beardstown had to close their only public swimming pool. Making repairs to the dated pool would not be cost affective for the Park District. They are now faced with funding the construction of an entirely new facility.

"When we closed down, we brought in some local engineers and some engineers from St. Louis to inspect the pool and see what it would cost to do. It was pretty scary what it would cost and it was not worthwhile considering the pool is almost 60 years old," Steve Megginson, Director of the Park District said.

It was not just the repairs that directed the park district towards abandoning the old pool. Unlike most modern pools, this pool's design sent overflow water directly to the sewer system, instead of filtering it back into the pool.

"It's not green friendly at all. Each day we were replacing thousands of gallons of water which is unacceptable," Megginson said.

Probably the biggest factor for choosing to build a new pool is accessibility. The only way to access the old pool was to climb down one of the steel ladders.

"I'm looking forward to modern designs for the pool ... splash areas for the children, the little kids, a lane area for people to swim in, a diving area. All these design aspects in a pool help it reach children and adults of all ages," Megginson said. Megginson stressed that possible designs for the new pool would also make it more accessible to people with disabilities.

At this time the Park District does not have a date for when construction on a new pool will start.

They are in the process of fundraising and seeking out grants for the project, which could cost more than $2.5 million.