$2.8 million provides funding for water improvements

Friday, July 6, 2007

From Staff Reports


Marshall County has received $2,837,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help pay for system improvements and to extend the capacity of the public water system serving families and businesses.

The grant was announced Monday at the Board of Public Utilities' offices with a ceremony attended by federal and county officials including BPU Chairman Rocky Bowden who said, "This is going to be the biggest project Marshall County has undertaken."

USDA funding for the project includes a $1.94 million low-interest loan and a grant of $897,000.  Marshall County will contribute an additional $1.5 million, bringing the total investment in essential community infrastructure to $4,337,000.

County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett thanked USDA officials and representatives from U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon's office, but added a cautionary note for Bowden's board and the public: "You do have to pick and choose where you start." 

Rural Development funds will be used by the BPU to improve the safety, reliability and capacity of the drinking water supply in two parts of the county.

In the north Caney Springs area, a new 300,000-gallon elevated storage tank and a half mile of water main will be constructed, and telemetry improvements made for electronic monitoring of the system in northern Marshall County.

In southeast Marshall County the project includes water line extensions which are Phase I of a three phase line extension project.  In that phase, 22 miles of new water lines are to be built to extend system capacity to a previously un-served area.  The project will alleviate a health concern for more than 100 residents who have until now relied on wells and springs that no longer provide a consistent, safe water supply for household use.

It's a reality well-known by one of the federal officials attending the event.

"I can remember when all the wells went bad," said Rural Development Area Director Faye Rodgers, a Hickman County native.

Presenting an over-sized replica of the check was Robert Connelly, assistant state director for USDA Rural Development.

"Extending public water service to homes and businesses is critical to the health and economic future of people living in Marshall County," said Connelly, now of Brentwood, but whose parents are in Marshall County.

"I am proud, with the support of Congressman Gordon, that Rural Development has the resources to assist this community, the Public Utilities Board and local leaders as they build for the future," Connelly said.

Gordon was unable to attend the event. Aides said he was attending the funeral of a close associate's parent.

"A safe, reliable supply of drinking water and dependable sewer service are crucial to the well-being of any community," Gordon said in a prepared statement.  "Utility improvement projects like this one are necessary to keep pace with our growing communities, and they are key to attracting companies with good-paying jobs."

 Liggett said "This funding will enable us to get started on a long, needed project. It will help us to continue to grow and reap benefits for rural citizens in Marshall County."