By Stan Welch
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson is finally seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, or in this case, an eight inch water line.
Plans are underway to install a line from Youth Center Road to Sherrard Road at Highway 20. When completed, the line will provide improved firefighting ability in the area around the fuel tank farm, a concern that Wilson has been raising for a number of years.
Senator Mike Gambrell, whose district includes the area, and who is a life long veteran firefighter, has worked with the county to secure funding as well.
“We have been very fortunate that the need for this improved firefighting capacity has not arisen”, said Wilson. “We could have easily had a catastrophic event. But RIA and the county have worked very hard to bring this project to fruition, and the people of Cheddar will be safer because of it.”
The Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) reviewed Anderson County’s original proposal, submitted in August, to install the line in two separate phases, spread across two grant funding cycles, and determined that the project should be done in one fell swoop.
Under the county’s original concept the project would have extended at least into late 2020.
In support of their viewpoint, RIA provided five hundred thousand dollars, the maximum amount available in a single grant cycle. The total cost of the project is estimated at one point $1 million, with the county providing a twenty five per cent match.
Also proposed for the Cheddar area is a separate, stand alone project to extend Big Creek Water’s lines to the Compton/Crawford/Gerald Simmons Road area.
There is no projected timeline for this project, and no grant application has been submitted at this time.
In a memo to Wilson in August, governmental affairs director Steve Newton explained that the grant application for that project, estimated at just over eight hundred ten thousand dollars, would be more complicated.
The local match amount might be as high as three hundred fifty thousand dollars.
The involvement of Big Creek Water (BCW) would include their assistance in obtaining written commitments from residents of the area to connect to the lines.
The memo also stated, “It would be wholly appropriate for them (BCW) to make some monetary contribution to the project, as this will be a new revenue stream for them.”
According to the memo, there are thirty two residents in the vicinity, some of whom have expressed concerns about the quality of their groundwater. They are currently using wells.