News Report Staff

Leaks in the Effingham Kluthe Pool could sink most of the summer season for the popular recreation facility.

Effingham Park District Director Jeff Althoff said last week extensive repair work on piping embedded deep in concrete will delay the opening of the pool at least into early July or longer. The pool was scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend when the leaks were detected, Althoff said. An early filling of the pool revealed the problem weeks before the holiday opening.

“We’re hoping for a July 1 opening,” Althoff said. “We feel horrible about this for the kids. And the staff was depending on their summer jobs at the pool.”

The pool’s closure has punched a hole in the annual budget process for the Park District as well, Althoff told Park District Commissioners during their monthly meeting on June 6 in the Ron Diehl Center.

“Right now, we expect a $25,000 loss at the pool this summer. But until we know what we’re doing with the pool, it’s hard to budget. I do expect to go over the $15,000 estimate we had budgeted for pool repairs before this happened,” said Althoff, who is arranging with contractors to work out a repair plan.

What caused the leaks was uncertain last week. The extreme cold weather last winter that extended into the spring might have been a factor. The age of the pool might have also contributed to the leaks with piping breakdowns or disconnections.

The pool opened at Evergreen Park more than 20 years ago. The Kluthe Pool replaced the old pool at Community Park, which was demolished to make room for today’s ball diamond.

Althoff said he plans to bring a repair plan to the board soon for approval. For now, many families are taking advantage of the indoor pool at the Richard Workman Sports Complex just down the street from the Kluthe Pool. Jake Junghanel, director of the Sports Complex, noted an uptick in use of the complex’s pool during some weekday afternoons.

The discussion of the budget demonstrated the popularity of the Adventure Camp program, which is entering its second summer. The registration for the multi-faceted Adventure Camp activities is averaging 130 participants per week with 12 sessions, Althoff said. The park district added two more weeks to the program this year due to its popularity during its initial year in 2017.

“It’s been crazy, but in a good way,” Althoff told board members. One reaction from parents has been they are happy to see their children coming home dirty and happy after being involved in park district activities.

The board voted to lay over the budget with total revenues estimated up to $487,700 for 30 days before taking a final vote during the July meeting, scheduled for July 11 due to the Fourth of July holiday falling on the first Wednesday of next month. The vote had Park Commissioners Chris Huelsbusch, Russ Sehy and Dennis Carie answering roll call. Board members Jason Semple and Ronald Mietzner were absent last Wednesday.

In other business, the board members approved the Prevailing Wage Act rates that apply to any contract work covered by that legislation.

It was noted that concrete work started last week on the Harmony Playground site near the sports complex. Installation of the playground equipment is tentatively scheduled for next week.

“I’m amazed on the progress we’ve seen on the playground,” said Board President Dennis Carie. The new playground will offer equipment for all children, including those with special needs.