By Greg Bird
According to Tuesday’s press release the federal funding will allow the Water District to replace 30,785 feet of water lines along Marsh Creek, some of which had been in place since the 1960’s and prone to frequent breaks. Those breaks lead to loss of pressure in the lines or outages for customers in the area.
Superintendent Stephen Whitaker said the funding comes as the result of several people working together to see vital infrastructure improvements in the county.
“I think it is important to thank everyone who put effort in to getting this project off the ground,” Whitaker said. “This was a combined effort from the local, state and federal level. Everyone came together on our behalf to make this happen.”
Whitaker said the support of the community played an important role in acquiring the funding as more than 35 local residents came to a public hearing to voice their concerns over the water lines and support the replacement efforts.
“This line replacement will impact 598 customers, not just along Marsh Creek, but all the areas that are served by that line,” he said.
Whitaker said support from Congressman Ken Upchurch and Senator Max Wise helped push the project forward.
“Local leaders across the country are looking for ways to be proactive about communities’ aging water systems,” Senator Wise said about the grant. “I’m pleased to see McCreary County, DLD and USDA Rural Development working together to implement a solution that benefits residents.”
Representative Upchurch added: “This grant funding will allow McCreary County to improve outdated water lines, making them more sustainable for our citizens. I’m glad to see DLG help us move this project forward and am glad to see the needs of our area looked out for in Frankfort.”
“Replacing these aging fixtures will provide more reliable service for households in the area, which is not just a matter of convenience and comfort, but also safety,” said Sandra K. Dunahoo, DLG Commissioner. “I commend local officials for reaching out to DLG for assistance with this project.”
Along with the grant, the county will also be issued a $722,710 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development for use on the project as well.
Whitaker said he planned to hold a groundbreaking ceremony to recognize everyone who played a role in obtaining funding once work is ready to begin. The Water District is also preparing for a major water line replacement project between Stearns and Smithtown.
The CDBG program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and provides assistance to communities for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities, providing infrastructure and/or improving community facilities and services.