ARNOLD – The Arnold Recreation Area’s new fountains are now running, thanks to ten months of hard work from a local teenager.
Ethan Furne, a 16-year-old junior at Arnold High School, began working on getting them installed almost a year ago when he joined the Central Nebraska Interact Club.
Interact, an offshoot of Rotary, seeks to get teens involved in community service in their hometowns.
For his first project with the group, Furne told sponsor Nicole Badgley that he wanted to get fountains for the recreation area’s pond to clear out the algae that makes it hard to fish.
Furne researched the cost of the project and spoke with the village, which owns the pond. He also consulted with a local agronomist, a chemical engineer and Nebraska Game and Parks to ensure that any algaecide chemicals used would only kill the algae and would not harm any fish.
Once Furne settled on the types of fountains and chemicals that would be needed, he went to work applying for grants to help fund the project with a total budget of more than $18,000.
Rotary was the first to invest $500 in the project so the chemicals could be bought and put on while waiting for the grants to come through.
Furne was awarded all four grants he applied for: The Mid Nebraska Community Foundation for $1,750, the Arnold Community Foundation for $6,000, the Custer County Foundation for $5,000 and Custer County Tourism for $5,000. The Village of Arnold paid for the electrical hook ups and the electricity to keep them running, and there were several other local donations.
Doug DeLaune then helped assemble and install the fountains, which were turned on Saturday.
“Teenagers, as well as adults, need to realize that teens can have a powerful voice,” Badgley said. “They can be empowered to do great things if they just talk to the right people. Having a network of people who can direct them leads to successes just like this one.”