Photo by Diane Cox
Capt. Alex Campbell (left) and Capt. James Schulte both were promoted to the position of Bethalto Fire Department assistant fire chief at Monday’s Village Board meeting.
BETHALTO — Village trustees gathered for the monthly meeting Monday to discuss and resolve changes to fire department personnel and planned community improvements.
Bethalto gains two assistant fire chiefs as well as improvements to the community pool. Trustees authorized the village to apply for grant funding and expenditure of motor fuel tax funds for improvements needed on North Prairie Street.
Monthly reports were presented to trustees concerning the water department, service calls for the fire and police departments and the village’s finances.
Bethalto Fire Department Deputy Chief Kurt Brown submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Alan Winslow Jan. 22, resigning as deputy chief and requesting to remain with the fire department in his previous role as captain. Brown cited time constraints outside of the fire department as his reason for stepping down as deputy chief. He said it was in the best interest of the department and community to resign his post but would continue to work as deputy chief until promotions were made to fill the vacancy.
After an application process and review, Fire Chief Richard Mersinger recommended the promotion of Capt. Alex Campbell and Capt. James Schulte to the position of assistant fire chief. Village trustees voted to approve the promotions and they went into effect immediately.
Captain Alex Campbell is a lifelong Bethalto resident and has been with the fire department for more than eight years. Campbell has spent his entire firefighting career in Bethalto since joining the department at age 21.
Capt. James Schulte came to Bethalto four years ago, but brings experience from Godfrey and Edwardsville fire departments. Both Campbell and Schulte are emergency medical technician-paramedics.
“We are one of the few local departments who run advanced life support,” Mersinger said. “We run with paramedics on the majority of our calls. In the next couple weeks all of our EMT-basics will convert over to EMT-basic advanced skills. As a department we are trying to stay on the forefront in every way we can. We train every week as a department and also with neighboring departments.”
The Bethalto community pool is making significant changes to the facility to provide a better experience for residents and visiting neighbors. A splash pad is in the works, in place of the current wading pool. The pool and splash pad deck area will be expanded and new fencing will be added. A new drain and recirculating system will be installed as well as new plumbing and electric. A wifi cafe is also in the mix to offer Internet access for those who choose to lounge by the pool and use their handheld devices.
“We are hoping to have all the new additions up and running for this approaching season,” Bethalto pool manager Jeff Allsman said. “The improvements are being made with a Madison County park grant. The wading, or infant pool, wasn’t being used very much. The splash pad will provide eight to 10 different water elements with tunnels, shooting fountains and waterfalls. We are completely remodeling the bathhouse to make it ADA-compliant and it will include a new roof. We have special plans to really make it appealing to the eye and offer a great experience and an exciting and fun place for our guests. At this point we are hoping to do this without raising any of the pool admission rates.”
Current rates for the pool are three-tiered: one rate for ages 6 and younger, a second tier for ages 7-16 and an adult rate for those older than 16. Individual or family season passes are available for residents and non-residents. A full concession area is also available.
The pool is available to rent for private parties from 10 a.m. to noon and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hours of general admission and operation will be from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The season will begin on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and will remain open until mid-August.
Improvement plans for North Prairie Street are under way as the village seeks to apply for grant funding to help with costs. Areas of improvement consist of new paving and shoulder work, installation of V-gutters and the installation of storm sewer culverts and inlets.
Trustees approved a request from the Bethalto Jaycees to allow use of the City Park for a carnival event the weekend of May 28-31. Event rides, food and game vendors and music are on the agenda. Armbands will be available during select hours for $20.
The next Village Board meeting will be at 7:15 p.m. Monday, March 2, at the Village Hall. All meetings are open to the public.