EFFINGHAM — A Lake Sara resident has asked the Effingham Water Authority to put up informational signage in his neighborhood that encourages drivers to slow down in the subdivision.

Gary Morgan, who lives on Lakeview Drive in the Beachcombers Subdivision, asked the board to put up a minimum of three signs that would possibly read, "Slow. Children at play" in the neighborhood. He thinks it would encourage drivers, especially commercial vehicle drivers, to be more cautious.

"We have a serious problem in our community ... with excessive speeding," Morgan said. "The commercial trucks and cars travel that way too fast, and with the given terrain, it's very dangerous. Our streets are very narrow and have turns and blind curves."

Morgan said there are often families and dog walkers walking on the roadways in the subdivision, including himself, who have to step into ditches when speeding vehicles com through.

Board Chairman Rob Brown said it is up to the board to keep the subdivisions in the EWA territory secure for those who live there.

"It's our responsibility to keep it safe," Brown said.

Morgan believes informational signage would be more impactful than speed limit signs because drivers often ignore the speed limit anyway. Lake Sara Superintendent Mike Dirks said placing such signs would not be a problem and suggested looking into renting a mobile speed radar tracker that flashes a driver's speed as he or she goes by.

Meanwhile, the board heard from the co-chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, Tom Ryan, on the status of the application for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant Program. The grant would aid EWA with the Pearson Peninsula project.

Ryan said the grant would match the project's funding up to $400,000. He said the project's budget is $1.1 million, broken down into portions of $800,000 and $300,000. EWA and fundraising group Lake Sara Forever will raise $400,000. The rest of the $800,000 would be matched by the grant and the remaining $300,000 would be set aside for additional projects at Pearson Peninsula, Ryan said.

Ryan said though official donation solicitation hasn't begun, the project has already received some funding.

"We haven't started our formal solicitations yet, and we had a champion that has come forward for $200,000 over three years, so we're well on our way," Ryan said.

He added that the project already has endorsements from organizations like the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce, and fundraising through Lake Sara Forever has had a positive turnout.

As for the grant application, Ryan said he feels positive the project is competitive for the grant.

"We're looking good. I think we've got a great story and getting positive vibes from the DNR from that standpoint to go ahead and compete because there are a lot of people applying for it," Ryan said.

Phase one of the 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 said phase two would look mostly at infrastructure.

In other matters, the board:

• Approved a road rock and oil bid for pouring and spreading of asphalt for $2.60 per gallon and spreading stone chips for $10.95 per ton. The board received just one bid.

• Discussed sending letters written by board attorney Tony Siemer to the owner of a rental property in EWA territory. The authority has received complaints about the lessees. The board also discussed sending letters to homeowners on Lot 27 in the Boos and Grunloh Subdivision No. 2 and Lot 11 in the Boos and Grunloh Subdivision No. 1. Dirks said the homeowner on Lot 27 completed a remodel on their house but needs to put siding on two sides of it, and the homeowner on Lot 11 has the home up for sale but has not maintained the lawn and landscaping around it. The letters would request the homeowners take care of those issues.

• Approved additions to the board's policy and procedures addressing grant applications.

• Approved putting at least 50 percent of monies received from campground leases into the Parks and Recreation Fund. Brown said EWA receives 5 percent of campground revenue when that revenue total is above $250,000.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 132.