GRAFTON -- While no official announcement has been made public, City Manager Kevin Stead said a Small Cities Block Grant request for sewer system upgrades was "most likely denied."
While he's disappointed, Stead said city officials are still hopeful that some federal funding will come through this year. He also said that the state grants will be applied for next year and officials from the Region VI Planning and Development Council have said the project will be at the top of their priority list next year.
In addition to the state block grant funding, Region VI officials, who handled all the grant applications, also requested a federal Appalachian Regional Commission grant.
The entire sewer upgrade project is actually comprised of two parts.
Grafton's part of the project includes upgrades to the storm sewer overflow system and processing station. The county wants to extend sewer lines out to Park View and Pruntytown. No information was available about the status of the ARC funding request.
Stead did say that he has been told that Taylor County and Grafton were included in a U.S. Senate bill passed in October, giving several municipalities and counties across the country grant funding for upgrades to sewer treatment facilities.
He was unsure of the exact amounts of the two grants, but said that Grafton will have to come up with a match because the city is not listed as distressed.
The project is important for two reasons. According to Stead, Grafton is under a court-ordered consent decree to significantly improve the sewer system. County Commission President Bob Weaver has said that residents in Park View and Pruntytown do not now have service and county officials believe they should.
Weaver said there are about 100 residences in Park View and a little less than that in Pruntytown. However, Pruntytown has areas that are prime for expansion and construction, he said, and that number will probably increase in the next few years.
Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at email@example.com.