Lancaster residents show support for water project

September 21, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - A standing room only crowd Saturday morning listened as officials explained a $1.19 million water line project. A nod of approval was given for the city to proceed with the project and to apply for a Community Development Block Grant that could fund nearly $600,000 of its cost. "I'm elated at the amount of people that have shown up," said Mayor Billy Moss of the crowd gathered at city hall.

The public hearing Saturday was required for the city to proceed with the project and apply for the grant, according to Don Hassall with the Bluegrass Area Development District. Residents were given an opportunity to speak up about the project.

Bob Noe of Maple Avenue said better water lines will improve the quality of life for Lancaster residents. "I would encourage the city to do anything it can to increase infrastructure," he said. Several others said that improved water flow will lead to more businesses and industries locating in Lancaster.


Phyllis Swaffar, representing the Owsley House, said she has lived on Maple Street for 23 years, among the areas of town plagued by poor water pressure because of bad lines. She said she appreciates what Councilwoman Donna Powell did in completing income surveys which will help Lancaster in grant approval. "I know how hard she has worked," Swaffar said.

Fire Chief Ken Adams said he was speaking both "as a citizen and a fire chief." He said he lives on Danville Street where the water lines are 80 years old. "Anything 80 years old needs to be updated," he said.

Scott Taylor, vice-president of Mayes, Suddereth, and Etheredge Engineers said plans submitted to the Kentucky Division of Water for the project have been approved. Taylor said the problem with the lines deals with "tuberculation." He said water deposits have left the pipes with stalactites and stalagmites, which are often found in caves, and have restricted water flow. "The pipes are much smaller than they used to be," he said.

The project will result in new six- and four-inch water mains for the oldest sections of Lancaster, iincluding Danville Street, Maple Avenue and Richmond Street. Mayor Billy Moss has said that the pipes will be "more modern, PVC type that will last longer." Many of the existing pipes are galvanized and some are cast-iron, he said.

Former water superintendent Fred Simpson compared taking care of the dilapidated water line system to raising a child. "I changed its diapers for a couple of years. As a parent, I'm still interested in this project," he said.

Simpson said the improvements will benefit the entire county. "You've got to have the basic building blocks if you're going to grow and develop," he said.

Garrard Magistrate Joe Leavell, who operated Garrard Hardware for 15 years, said a customer once brought in a smelly piece of pipe for repair. "'Where'd you get that sewer line?'" Leavell said he asked him. "'That's not a sewer line, that's a water main,'" Leavell said the customer replied. "That's when I went out and bought a water filter."

Heath Stone, representing Garrard Co. Health Department, said there are many health implications in water quality. "It's everything," he said. "We have many food service establishments, and most of their equipment depends on the water source. We urge you to continue on this project."

Hassall said Lancaster will probably learn in January whether they have received the grant. Provided the city receives the CDBG, residents may see an increase in their water bills of about 60 cents a month. But if the project proceeds without the grant, customers' monthly water bills could increase by about $1.50. Mayor Moss estimates the project will start in late summer or early fall of 2004.

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