DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - A group is urging Decatur residents to get involved in saving the historic Staley Pump House from being demolished.
The Pump House building, which stood on Lake Decatur since 1919, originally served as a pumping station and social gathering place. In August 2019, the century-old structure was scheduled for demolition by the company that owns it - Tate & Lyle.
In response, Bret Robertson and several others formed a non-profit corporation, "Save the Pump House", with a mission of preserving and rehabilitating the historic property.
"Our estimates are that it'll take at least $500,000 to demolish the Pump House," Robertson said. "Whereas we could safeguard the building, preserve it, and protect it for a fraction of that cost."
To some Decatur residents, the building is an iconic symbol of the city.
"I just love the architectural details of it," said Decatur resident Brian Sheppard. "You don't see anything like that anywhere, really, in town. It's pretty unusual for anywhere in the state."
Save the Pump House has asked Tate & Lyle to reconsider, but so far, the London-based company hasn't budged.
"They are committed to demolishing the structure, unfortunately," Robertson said. "And we're very disappointed in that. Quite frankly, we're a bit perplexed because we don't think that makes much business sense."
Monday evening, Save the Pump House held an update meeting at the Decatur Public Library, where they urged community members to contact Tate & Lyle via e-mail and social media, ask them to save the Staley Pump House and tell them why saving the Pump House is important to them.
They said if enough people get involved, it will make a difference.
"I think it's fairly likely that it could be saved," Sheppard said. "Everyone needs to get out and give their opinions on ... why it's important to them."
Tate & Lyle can be reached via their LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter pages. They can also be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org