EFFINGHAM — The Effingham Water Authority met in regular session Monday and held a special meeting to reorganize as well.

An update on the Pearson Peninsula was given by Tom Ryan, co-chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee.

The committee plans to apply for funds to start the multi-year, multi-million dollar project from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant Program.

The deadline for the grant under the Gov. J.B. Pritzker's administration has been moved up two months earlier, now set at Aug. 1. Ryan said all efforts are being placed on applying for those grants by the new deadline and following new requirements, as well.

Those grants that will be awarded should be named in the first quarter of 2020, he estimated.

The Parks and Recreation Group is working to develop an ADA compliant recreation area at Lake Sara for the entire community to use. It will be built in several phases as money becomes available.

Phase 1 plans include a giant chess set area, ADA fishing area, natural native grasses, disc golf course, and an ADA accessible path all the way to the beach and into the water.

Ryan added that one of the first fundraisers for the park project will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. July 22, at Pinky's on Lake Sara. Pinky's will donate a portion of the proceeds to the renovation project.

Members of the Lake Sara Forever Foundation will be on hand to answer questions, according to the Facebook post about the event.

In its second meeting, EWA board met in special session to reorganize the board and rehire all of its current personnel.

Rob Brown will remain president. He has served on the board since 2007. Chris Kabbes and Jim Boos switched their roles with the board, making Kabbes the new treasurer and Boos the new board secretary.

Boos has served in different capacities on the board since 1978. Kabbes has served on the board for a number of years also.

The board then rehired Mike Dirks as superintendent of Lake Sara, a position he's held for six years. Also reemployed were two maintenance employees, four summer help workers, plus seven part-time law enforcement employees.

Sue Verdeyen, office manager for EWA, just marked her one-year anniversary and was rehired. All employees were given a 3 percent raise.

Tony Siemer, attorney, was also retained.

Brown said The Effingham Water Authority gets its revenue from commercial leases; from water sales to the City of Effingham; and boat lease registration fees.

The EWA meets on the second Monday of each month starting at 5:30 p.m. in the basement of the Effingham Public Library.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com 217-347-7151, ext. 138