Ameren Illinois
Darren Hess and Mike Blackburn of Ameren Illinois safely remove the olds lights near the tennis courts at Lincoln Park. Once the lights were removed the Ameren Illinois team carefully cut the wooden poles in pieces and safely lowered the pieces to the ground.

Ameren Illinois Volunteers Help to Remove Aging Lighting and Poles

July 4, 2024
Employees donated their time and equipment to address a safety hazard on tennis courts in East St. Louis.

Safety is paramount at Ameren, and when the company was contacted by the East St. Louis Community Tennis Association with a problem it couldn't resolve, a handful of employees from Ameren Illinois volunteered to resolve the concern.

The outdated lights around the newly resurfaced Al Penelton tennis courts in Lincoln Park were barely hanging from the nearly 50-year-old city-owned poles. Scott Stinson, president of the East St. Louis Community Tennis Association, knew it would only be a matter time before one of the lights broke away and possibly hit someone on the court. In fact, one light did fall and damaged a section of the chain-link fence. Unfortunately, the tennis association did not have the necessary equipment to safely remove the lights and poles, so Stinson reached out to Ameren Illinois.
Luke Wollin, vice president for Electric Operations and Distribution, for Ameren Illinois, is also an avid tennis player. He was on hand to oversee the project. 

"East St. Louis has a beautiful tennis facility that it put in a few years ago and just had the three courts resurfaced," Wollin said. "However, the light standards and poles have been here close to 50 years. The lights no longer work and have become a public safety hazard. Safety is a core Ameren value. We decided to donate some of our time to use our trucks to pull these old poles out to make it safe and make the area look nicer for the City of East St. Louis."

Mike Blackburn, superintendent of Electric Operations, and Darren Hess, supervisor of Electric Operations, used a two-person bucket truck to remove the lights and slowly lower the lights to Bobby Davis and Craig Deiters, who both served as groundmen. The only delay was battling the wasps that had built nests in the old lights.

Joe Lewis, Jr., vice president of the East St. Louis Community Tennis Association, was happy to have the lights and poles removed ahead of an upcoming tournament.
"The fixtures are coming down and the poles are being removed just ahead of the tournament and when the kids come out for lessons on Saturday and Sunday," Lewis said. "This will look nice. Our goal is to replace the lights in time with new poles and fixtures that will mirror the beauty of our courts."

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