McConnell brings money for Harrodsburg project

March 21, 2004|ANN HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stopped in Harrodsburg Friday morning to break ground on the final part of the six-year-old project to bring the city's sewage treatment system in compliance with state and federal regulations.

McConnell, a member of the Senate's agriculture committee and the agriculture appropriations and Rural Development subcommittees, was here to present the money designated for the project.

The senior senator from Kentucky and the majority whip of the U.S. Senate presented a symbolic check for $2.3 million.

Before McConnell's arrival, City Administrative Officer Ed Music explained that half of the money is a grant and the other half is a loan. It all comes from the Rural Development Administration. Friday's event was held on Chiles Street in front of Morgan Row.

As a member of the agriculture-related subcommittees who write the checks for Rural Development, McConnell said it was a pleasure to see where the money is going and how communities are benefiting from the funds.


"I like to see the tangible results that actually do make a difference in people's lives," McConnell said at the gathering attended by elected officials from the state, the Harrodsburg City Commission and Mercer County Fiscal Court, candidates seeking re-election, City Hall and Fiscal Court staff and members of the public. "Sometimes you wonder if government makes any difference at all."

This money will go toward adding lines to the sewage collection system and rehabilitating the sewage treatment plant. The city already has spent more than $5 million to bring the system into compliance with state regulations.

A high percentage of the money already spent has gone toward a major project building a main sewer line from south of the city around to the west to the sewage treatment plant. That allowed the city to bypass several antiquated pump stations and some of the oldest sewage lines in the city.

The state stopped all tap-ons to the system in 1998 and ordered the city to make needed repairs before tap-ons could be resumed. The state has lifted the ban on new connections to the system, in part because of the work that has been done and the city's intention to complete the project on which the $2.3 million will be spent.

The projects benefit about 3,000 customers, Harrodsburg Mayor Lonnie Campbell told the crowd. "It is a major form of economic development,'' Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler said of the completion of the sewer system update.

Kenneth Slone, state director for Rural Development, said his agency spent $50 million in 2003 in Kentucky and already this year has spent in $21 million. The funds have added 1,100 new jobs in the state.

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