• 93°

EB puts grant money to early use

Sewer lines, paved streets among starting projects

STORY BY NICOLE BURNS

The city of East Brewton recently began work utilizing grant money it’s received for several projects. Street and Sanitation Superintendent, Steve Dunaway said work just wrapped on the first phase of a sewer rehabilitation project.

“What we’re doing is rehabbing the existing sewer lines,” said Dunaway. “They go in, it’s like a balloon, they go in and blow it up and it conforms to the sewer line that’s there. The bad places, it takes care of that stuff so everything runs smoothly.”

City Clerk Karen Singleton said the grant money from the sewer rehab comes from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). “Most of the time with the state, they don’t award it, but every other year,” said Singleton. “It’s an 80/20 grant where the Water Board has to pay 20%. The total budget for the grant is $403,700. The grant funds are 80% of that cost and 20% of that would be from the water board.”

“This is the third such grant that we’ve had in the last five or six years,” said Dunaway. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to put a little over a million dollars back into the sewer system in a five year period which is pretty significant for us.”

East Brewton residents shouldn’t see any changes to service or cost of service. They may see a little traffic congestion when traffic flow must be temporarily rerouted during work and some may notice a temporary adhesive smell in the area of work.

“Their tax money is going for a good cause, something to benefit everybody,” said Dunaway. “You may not see it, it’s what keeps things flowing. It keeps us from backing up.”

The next phase of the sewer line rehab may seem more like road construction. “The next phase will be raising the existing manholes, we have about 15 of those. There may be a tad of resurfacing that may have to happen after that,” said Dunaway.

The second grant that the city is about to put into play is one to repave several busy streets. Dunaway said a grant from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) will help resurface both Shoffner Street and Dailey Street.

“We have certain streets around here called connector streets. They run from highway 41 to Highway 29 and they connect these two. The state has some control over those particular streets and that’s how this grant came about. It saved the city over a half of a million dollars worth of paving,” said Dunaway.

“It could be a financial hardship if we didn’t get grant funds because it costs so much to do those streets because they’re so long,” said Singleton. “People don’t think about asphalt being expensive, but it’s very expensive.”

Resurfacing work should begin on Shoffner and Dailey Streets within the next few months.

Residents who might be trying to stick to that New Year’s resolution of getting fit have a newly paved walking track at RT Johnson Park to help them out thanks to grant money from the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils (RC&D).

“We have just finished the walking track around our baseball fields. That’s something a lot of people don’t know is there. It’s probably 6/10ths of a mile long. It goes all the way around the ball fields,” said Dunaway.

Dunaway said a lap and a half around the track is about a mile if you’re gauging distance. There are still a few touches city leaders want to make on the track before moving onto a different project at the park.

“In the end, we hope to have it fenced around and landscaped,” said Dunaway. “It’s a slow process. First we built the ball fields, then the tennis courts, now we’re doing the walking track. We’re hoping to get some playground equipment there one day. We’re hoping it’s going to be a nice facility down there.”

Dunaway said the park is for public use. Anyone interested in using the tennis courts can pick up a key at city hall or at the ball fields if they’re open. It’s free to use, but the city keeps them locked for safety reasons.

“It’s a nice facility. We’re hoping people come out and use it.”