Getting a head start

Despite a full list of projects, council sees importance of starting now with grant applications for water line replacements

By Grace Moore

At Monday night’s regular meeting of the Moorcroft Council, HDR Engineering’s Heath Turbiville reported that with the Goshen Street and Powder River Projects are in line to be completed within this calendar year and advised applying for a grant to begin the Powder River Water Project at the June meeting may be in the best interest of the town.

Neither Turbiville nor the council anticipates being approved for the funding the first time they apply, as, according to Councilman Dick Claar, “They’re so short on money that I think they’re going to put a lot of projects off until at least the second or third time through, so I think we should get started in the process.”

Councilman Owen Mathews agreed, saying, “I think making sure that the application’s in front of the SLIB that’s coming up is a good thing to do. It may allow us to get funding for design… I’d like to see us moving forward with it.”

He reminded his fellow council members of the situation the town faced when the same kind of water line on Green River Avenue, of the same age as Powder River, collapsed three times before they were set to replace it, costing the town significantly more than anticipated for emergency repairs.

“We could find ourselves in an emergency situation again,” he said. “If we get into that situation, we need to be as ready as we can… and if we have to go for emergency money, at least they know we were planning for it.”

Mayor Steve Sproul asked Turbiville for a copy of the project overview “to take a look at” before the application deadline of February 15. The total cost of the water project will be approximately $3 million and was the “next in line” before the Powder River sewer line began to significantly fail, jumping that project ahead.

Councilman Paul Smoot shared his concerns about adding this large undertaking to the several already active projects for the coming months. “I think we have our plate kind of full. We may need to get it in motion, but my gut tells me that we have a full plate for this year,” he said.

Speaking to these concerns, Turbiville explained possible options to slow things down a bit. “If you got approved at the June meeting, it would be spring of 2019 when construction would start so it would be fall of 2019 before it was completed. Or if you wanted to finish up the other ones, just not start for a year. I think you have to take your first draw off the grant within a year.”

Turbiville will continue with the application for funding for the Powder River Water Project at this time.

With the completion of the Powder River Water Project, the water/sewer infrastructure will have all been updated with the exception of a matter of feet in different areas around town that will be brought up to date later.