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Upshur officials hope to secure funds for Elkins Road PSD proje

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

BUCKHANNON -- When word came earlier this summer that state funding was available for a Hodgesville Public Service District project to extend water lines and upgrade the system, Upshur County development officials breathed a deep sigh of relief.

That relief lasted about three weeks before it was time to begin putting together a "wish list" of county projects that officials hope to get funding approved for next year.

Topping this year's list for county officials is a project to extend and upgrade a water system for the Elkins Road Public Service District, said Upshur County Administrator Willie Parker.

"The counties work through the regional planning and development councils and they have various projects in the works," Parker said. "We assign points to a project depending on need. The Hodgesville project had been designated as the No. 1 priority in this county and now that it's been funded, something else becomes the biggest need."

The project, which Parker estimated will cost about $3 million, is slated to bring water to about 250 families in the eastern part of the county near U.S. Route 33 and Route 151. If approved and funded, the project will lay 6- and 8-inch water lines, add a booster station and provide a 250,000-gallon water storage tank.

Officials from the Region VII Planning and Development Council, which represents Upshur, Tucker, Barbour, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis and Randolph counties, each year must decide which projects are their top priorities to seek funding. Each county submits a list of their priorities to the council for consideration.

Last year, Parker said, the Elkins Road PSD project was fifth on the council's list, which gives it a good chance of getting funding when applications are submitted next year.

"Now is the time when we start thinking about what we will go after, whether it will be Small Cities Block Grant funding, (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Rural Utilities Service funding, Appalachian Regional Commission funding, state infrastructure council funding or some combination of them," he said. "We could apply to all of them or just some. That's what we're looking at now."

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446.

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