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The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $1 million grant to Lincoln County to help construct critical sewer infrastructure along the Huntsville Highway corridor.
“The EDA grant announced today will help ensure business resiliency in Lincoln County, mitigating the effects of any future disasters and supporting business expansion and job creation,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine in a release Tuesday.
The grant will assist in funding construction of 81,605 linear feet of new sewer lines in the Huntsville Highway corridor in southern Lincoln County, along with four pump stations and related infrastructure.
Altogether, the project will address deficiencies in sewer service and support relocation and expansion of defense and aerospace manufacturing facilities in southern Lincoln County, said officials in the release.
A primary driver of the project has been the acquisition and development of Runway Centre.
“When our progressive commissioners realized the value of purchasing Runway Centre, I promised myself to support their decision,” said Lincoln County Mayor Peggy Bevels just after the announcement. “Work has been continual since this purchase, but I am pleased to announce Lincoln County has been successful in securing $2,580,500 toward this development.
Included in that $2,580,500 is $750,000 from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, $830,500 from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for construction of a road, and the federal EDA grant of $1 million.
“As this was virgin land, many, many permits, tests, etc., had to be accomplished, Bevels said. “One big element missing was that there was no sewer available.
“Not only was sewer needed for development of Runway Center, but most people were not aware that we have two schools in need of sewer,” she continued, referring to Highland Rim Elementary and South Lincoln Elementary, both of which are hoped to ultimately benefit from additional phases of the sewer project.
“Therefore, our community will finally be a drawing card for providing skilled jobs for our children,” she said. “It is hoped you are proud of our commissioners and our work to make this community a better place.
“I want to personally thank Britt Dye (CEO and general manager of FPU), Cole Bradford (county finance manager), Mr. Philip Paradice and Mrs. Bertha Partin with the EDA, Kingsley Brock and Philip Trauernicht of the ECD, Paul Degges and John Phillips of TDOT, Sen. Jim Tracy, Rep. Pat Marsh, SCTDD’s Nathan Ward, Trestles’ Dudney Fox, and Elaine Middleton with our local IDB,” she added.
FPU was a co-applicant with Lincoln County on the federal grant application, since it is hoped that the utility would maintain the infrastructure. Currently, FPU remains in consideration of the project. Once its approval is given, the county would move forward with advertising for a contractor.
According to a study by CTI Engineering, construction costs for the initial phase of the infrastructure is estimated at $4.2 million. Using predominately low-pressure sewers for collection, the sewage would be pumped to FPU’s Wastewater Plant under the plan.
The EDA grant is part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.