Park construction delayed in Williamson Co.

Park construction delayed in Williamson Co.

COLP, IL (KFVS) - Efforts to build a new park for residents of Williamson County are being stalled by a lack of funds.

The village of Colp was founded in the early 1900s, and a centennial project was introduced in late 2014 to celebrate the occasion.

The village sprang up in the midst of several coal mines, and once boasted a population of more than 1,000 residents.

Some area historians say the village also hosted a a number of live music and entertainment venues.

The population in 2016 dwindled to roughly 200 residents, not including residents of 'Old Number Nine'; an adjacent neighborhood whose namesake is one of few remnants of a once-bustling coal mine.

The village, now strewn with overgrown and vacant lots whose numbers rival those of occupied homes, remains home to young families, several of whom say they they were attracted by affordable real estate.

One of the area's remaining pockets of population exists near the village's region-serving water tower, in the shadow of which lives Lorenzo Williams and his family.

"The kids. They need something good to play on," Williams said. "You can't just throw something together."

Williams lives right across the street from the existing site for the park, which was fenced in by village workers in 2015.

A sign on the fence reads as follows:

"1915-2015 Village of Colp's 100 year Centennial Play Park, Funded Primarily by the Harrison Bruce Foundation"

A phone call to the foundation was not returned as of Tuesday, March 8.

"They came in and put a small area to park, and that fence," Williams said. "After that, we didn't hear anything... I heard it was going to be up by this year... I just hope something happens."

"The money is in an exclusive expense account, and we can't spend it on anything else," project Manager Marcella Clark said. "We do have some equipment in storage, and we are waiting until we can afford to purchase the rest of it to actually construct the park."

The project is funded mainly through donations according to Clark, in addition to some smaller grants received overtime.

The village's treasurer's report dated for Feb. 11, 2016 showed the park's account was valued at $21,320.14.

Clark said on Tuesday the sum was not enough to purchase the equipment necessary to make the park effectively accessible to children of the desired age groups, while meeting state codes and safety standards.

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