City finalizes investment on public water infrastructure

At the Wall and Grand Street intersection, below the surface, two million gallons of water lie in subterenean storage tanks.

“These are old tanks past their useful life’’ Carbondale City Manager Kevin Baity said. ‘‘They need to be replaced and we’ve finally reached a resolution to do so.”

A resoloution was approved at the Aug. 21 City Council meeting that authorized the city manager to execute loan documents with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for the Water Storage Facility Project’s construction.

The city secured rights in August 1991 to build a new water storage facility at 1080 E. Park St. adjacent to the Gateway Foundation, a drug and alcohol treatment center. The property sat vacant ever since, said Steve Wierman, executive director for the Gateway Foundation.

Until recently, however, the city has lacked the funds to begin any kind of building design.

The project sat inactive until the late ’90s, when it was brought to the Community Investment Program. A specific Springfield construction company was  quickly contracted to complete the design with hopes to take advantage of funds appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as a stimulus package, Baity said.

Unable to secure any funds from the act, the city began to pursue other ways to obtain the money and submitted a pre-application form to the IEPA last March for a $4.5 million low-interest loan.

After much anticipation, the city was notified that the IEPA approved the pre-application process and reserved funds for the project. With this notification, the city was approved to receive up to $1 million as long as it didn’t exceed  25 percent of the project’s cost.

Baity said the result of the project’s principle forgiveness is similar to $1 million grant, which will substantially reduce the cost of the project.

Two area contractors will be hired for the job; River City Construction will build the tanks, and Dean Bush Construction will take care of pipe installation.

Shawn Henry, director of public works, will oversee the facility’s construction. He said work will begin late this fall if weather permits, but the bulk of the construction will happen throughout spring and summer. “We were extremely fortunate to get that loan,” Henry said.

Baity said tanks similar to the ones being built can be seen in the industrial park near the airport on northbound Highway 51 toward DuQuoin.

“After we get the new tanks built, we won’t continue to use the ones on Wall and Grand,” he said. ‘‘The new tanks will be above ground and a lot safer than the ones we’ve been trying to get rid of for years.’’

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About Caleb Motsinger

Caleb Motsinger can be reached at cmotsinger@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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