ENON — Village officials will be ceremoniously renaming the Enon Water Department Treatment Facility in honor of former Enon Mayor Charles E. Koons during an open house at the facility, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 2825 Enon Road.
Koons, who passed away in 2003, served the longest tenure as mayor of Enon, from 1958 to 1965 and again, from 1967 to 1988, as well as several terms on village council.
Enon Mayor Tim Howard said bestowing such an honor on Koons is a fitting tribute to the former mayor who set the standards in the village for 28 years and played a significant role in implementing a public water system only 21 months after taking office as mayor.
“Charlie put in a lot of time because he loved the village,” Howard said. “He was always involved in the daily operations of the village water system and was very passionate about it. That water system was his baby.”
Reflecting back during the period of time he was trained and took over the operations of the water treatment facility after the water department superintendent retired in 1979, Howard credited Koons for his visionary approach regarding the ongoing operations of the water department.
“Charlie knew that he would not be around forever, and he wanted to pass on that knowledge to someone who could take over in the future,” Howard said. “He would tell me to watch what he was doing and learn how to do it.”
According to the former mayor’s youngest daughter, Robin Barry, council members started discussing establishing a public water system shortly after Koons was elected to village council in 1952.
“Dad quickly moved forward after he began serving his first term as mayor in 1958, and by October 1959 the water was running through the pipes,” Barry said. “The project was financed with revenue bonds and cost $426,000, which was less than council expected.”
Barry said that the water system first consisted of one small water treatment plant and one well with two pumps that pumped a total of 250 gallons per minute to customers in the village and West Enon Estates.
The family detailed some of the former mayor’s many accomplishments, including being selected as “Mayor of the Year” in 1961 by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I believe that one of the reasons the chamber awarded that honor to dad is because the population of the village had tripled from 1950 to 1960, but dad was able to maintain a ‘hometown’ community,” Barry said. “He managed so well despite the fact the village was growing so fast.”
Koons also served 22 years on the Clark County Planning Commission, 20 years on the Springfield-Clark County Transportation Coordinating Committee and 16 years on the Enon and Mad River Township Fire Department.
Barry said that when her father took office, the village owned no property and was renting a space to conduct village business. The village eventually purchased a piece of property that housed a closed-down gas station.
Koons’ daughter, Jennifer Hawks, said that being mayor took much of her father’s personal time. He would repeatedly receive phone calls during dinner time, and many people would show up at the back door of their house during all hours of the day and night.
“People in the village would know what time dad got home from work, and they would come to see him for all different types of problems. They thought the mayor had all he answers, and dad would always take care of them,” Hawks said. “I have always been very proud of him, and I always placed him on a pedestal.”
Geneva Koons said throughout the years he served as mayor, her husband continually credited council members for the village’s many achievements.
“Charlie always had a council that work well with him, and they were the secret to his success,” she said.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for the Herald.