More than 350 residents from the city of Lockport, Ill., and surrounding communities listened to presentations and toured the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD’s) historic Powerhouse during Old Canal Days on June 14, 2014.
As part of the opening ceremony, Boy Scout Troop 50 and Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Stacy Miller presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. MWRD Chairman of Finance Mariyana Spyropoulos presented a MWRD resolution to Lockport Mayor Stephen Streit in honor of Old Canal Days.
“The District was very pleased when Mayor Streit asked us to participate in Old Canal Days,” said Spyropoulos said. “We recognize that the Powerhouse has a commanding presence in the community, so we wanted to open our doors to help provide a better understanding of its role in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS).”
“On behalf of the city of Lockport, I would like to thank the Board of Commissioners for participating in Old Canal Days,” said Mayor Streit. “Many residents have lived in Lockport their entire lives and always wondered what the Powerhouse does. This is a wonderful opportunity, and we hope to continue the tradition each year.”
Tour guides led visitors in small groups along the backside, inside and front sections of the Powerhouse throughout the day, stopping for a 15-minute presentation. MWRD Director of Maintenance and Operations Manju Sharma and former Executive Director Richard Lanyon discussed the role of the Powerhouse and explained how it aids the Chicago Area Waterways in flood prevention while allowing for recreational and commercial navigation. The Powerhouse, which was completed in 1907 and is listed on the Illinois Register of Historic Places, also generates revenue and clean energy as one of only 12 hydroelectric plants operating in Illinois.