City, county seek federal money for water project

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Brookhaven and Lincoln County officials will seek over $1million in state grants to upgrade the city’s water system toaccommodate industrial expansions, engineer Carl Ray Furr saidTuesday.

Speaking during Tuesday’s mayor and board of aldermen meeting,Furr said the city and county will each apply for $650,000 economicdevelopment grants in pursuit of an estimated $2.3 million watersystem project. The project is needed to address current heavywater use by Specialty Minerals Inc. and the new ContinentalCarbonic plant, which is expected to need about 600,000 gallons amonth when it begins operation next year.

“It’s going to start taxing our system,” said Furr, while alsomentioning annexation as a reason for greater water capacity.”Water is a major concern.”

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The grants, which come to the state from the federal government,are triggered by new industry location or existing industryexpansion, Furr said. The city will tie its application to theContinental Carbonic plant while the county can use an expansion atDelphi automotive systems as its trigger.

“Delphi has always cooperated to get that extra federal money,”Furr said.

Local matching money will come from funds left over following abond issue several years ago to address SMI water needs, Furrsaid.

Furr said the project was an ambitious one that involvesinstallation of a new elevated water tank along Interstate 55 andthe drilling of a new water well south of town. The city projectwill focus on the tank while the county project would cover thewell and a feeder line to the tank.

Furr said the tank, with a 500,000 gallon capacity, would likelybe located along the interstate between Brookway Boulevard andHighway 550. In that location, he said it could be painted to beesthetically pleasing.

“We’ve got enough money in there to do that and the tank couldbe a landmark for the city of Brookhaven,” Furr said.

Furr said the grant cycles occur every 90 days. He hoped to getthe applications in during the next grant cycle.

In other activity, Furr said bids to install lights on theIndustrial Park Road overpass and to put in new traffic signals atthe North Jackson Street intersection will be opened Dec. 19. Hehoped the bids could be awarded and the project begun in January orFebruary.

“It’s going to really make it look nice up there,” Furr saidabout the overpass lighting.


Aldermen approved advertising for an engineer and architect forthe proposed Multi-Modal Transportation Facility. The advertisementand selection will allow the city to be reimbursed for its expensesout of federal discretionary funds allocated for the project.

The city has been allocated $3 million and another $2 million isexpected to be included in next year’s federal budget, Furr said.The federal transit money, sent to the state and earmarked for theproject, is available on a reimbursement basis.

City Clerk Iris Rudman said there is nothing budgeted for themulti-modal facility. She said the city has covered expenses so farout of the general fund, and she needed guidance on how much tobudget and how to access the funds to be reimbursed.

“If we’re going to get our money back, we need to set up amulti-modal (account),” Rudman said.

Furr said $1 million is available and other funds are awaitingcompletion of an environmental study. He said he would speak withstate transportation officials about the funds and how to accessthem for city reimbursement.

Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill questioned project costs to thecity. Mayor Bill Godbold said officials did not know exactly whatwill be done at the facility.

Furr said the project would done in phases. He said the maximumthe city would have to contribute is a 20 percent match, with someof that being in-kind assistance.


Also in the area of transportation, Furr said the city is injeopardy of losing $400,000 in federal aviation funds if they arenot spent. He said the money could lapse as early as Sept. 30,2003.

After speaking with state aviation officials, Furr recommendedthe city overlay the older portion of the runway at the cityairport

Officials are currently studying the feasibility of upgradingthe existing airport or developing a new facility.

When asked about spending money at the current airport whenanother one is being considered, Furr said it would take severalyears to build up enough federal funds for the city to pursue a newairport if one is recommended. He said the existing runway overlaywould be an interim improvement.

“It’s going to have to take care of Brookhaven’s needs for thenext five years,” Furr said.


In an on-going Warren Avenue bridge debate, Furr said engineersare awaiting decisions on how to proceed after the bridge wasordered closed because it is unsafe. He said the bridge could beused for pedestrian or bicycle traffic, but it cannot be used forvehicle traffic.

Furr said the bridge cannot be rebuilt in its existing locationbecause three surrounding houses would have to be bought and thereal estate costs would be more than the bridge itself. He saidstate officials are reviewing whether the bridge could be rebuiltsouth of its existing location.

Canadian National railroad officials vetoed a plan to install anarched culvert as a way to address the bridge concerns, Furr said.He said officials are now considering a pre-cast concrete structurethat may could be put in the location.