The North Georgia Community Foundation recently awarded a $3,000 grant to the Forsyth County Parks Foundation for its project helping keep Lake Lanier visitors safe through summer.
The Parks Foundation has partnered with several local rotary clubs, including North Forsyth 400 Rotary Club, Lanier Forsyth Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Forsyth County, to raise funds to put up water safety signs in parks completely around the lake.
South Hall Rotary members Jess and Jeff Williams presented the idea for the project three years after they lost their toddler, Justus, after he got sick following what was meant to be a fun day on Lake Lanier. Later, they found out Rivers Forks Park was shut down around the same time for high E. coli levels.
But in the moment, they had no idea their two-year-old son had potentially been swimming in risky waters.
To help raise awareness of harmful bacteria in the lake and ways others can protect themselves, the family unveiled one of eight signs last summer that went up around the lake with information for passersby.
The North Georgia Community Foundation’s grant is contributing to the $8,500 the family raised to help put up these signs, which includes information on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and how to protect against and look for signs of flooding and increased bacteria in the water.
The back of each sign also features a scannable QR code that leads viewers to the latest E. coli levels at their park. Levels are tested every week during the summer months.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the Parks Foundation thanked each of the rotary clubs and the North Georgia Community Foundation for their help in getting these signs out into the community where they can hopefully keep other families safe.
“We look forward to future partnerships together supporting parks and recreation in Forsyth County,” the statement reads.