Water Woes Washed Away
By: Arnold Wyrick
MARION, Ill. - For more than decade Marion's city leaders fought an environmental group to build a new city lake on Sugar Creek. Now all that legal wrangling and worrying if the town is going to have enough water is coming to an end.
"We can't wait any longer. We have to have water available," said Marion Mayor Bob Butler.
"Even if we were to commence construction on the lake at Sugar Creek, it would be anywhere from two to three years before water could be produced from the lake. We cannot wait that long," Butler said.
The town won't have to because U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello secured a federal grant for $2.2 million from the Economic Development Administration.
"Now we have to get the right-of-way for the construction of the major water line. And we are looking right now for a location for the new water tower," Mayor Butler said.
The city will now be able to tap into the Rend Lake Conservancy District for its water needs in the future. It's a clear change in path from years past when Marion's city leaders didn't want to rely upon a single line for water.
The city's reservoir south of town will stay on line and so will the city's water plant just in case something happens.
"What if we have an earthquake and the line running down here is broken, then what? I'm going to keep our plant operating. I'm thinking about eight hours a day five days a week. I'll keep two men on that way if one's out sick or on vacation we can still operate. Because if we did shut it down it would just sit there and rust up, and we'd never get to use it again," said Water Commissioner Robert 'Dog" Connell.
Along with the new water line could also come some new jobs.