City awarded $343,490 infrastructure grant

The City of Union will use a state grant to upgrade sewer services to more than 200 residences and businesses in the May Street area.

Mayor Harold Thompson announced Wednesday that he’d received a letter from Gov. Nikki Haley informing him that the city “will receive a $343,490 Community Infrastructure Grant from the Community Development Block Grant Program” to upgrade sewer lines in the May Street area of Union.

Thompson said that the May Street Project will involve upgrading sewer lines serving May Street, Cabin Street, Hill Street, Haskell Street, and part of Pinckney Street. He said the project will improve sewer service for a total of 207 residences and businesses in the area.

“Our sewer system is over one hundred years old and there has been deterioration,” Thompson said. “What we’re doing is something similar to what we’re doing in the McBeth Street Project. We’re lining the deteriorated lines with cured-in-place pipe. This is a very cost-effective way of doing it. It seems to work very well and is very cost-effective.”

The CDBG funds require a local match which Thompson said would amount to slightly more $34,000. He said the local match will be allocated from the city utility fund.

The May Street Project is the latest in a series of infrastructure improvement projects the city has undertaken.

Earlier this month, council voted unanimously to award the bid for the McBeth Street Sewer Rehabilitation Project to Layne Inliner of Charlotte, NC for $740,702. The project involves the replacement of approximately 5,176 linear feet of deteriorated 8-inch sanitary sewer lines with cured-in-place pipe.

The project is being funded with a $469,084 Community Development Block Grant awarded through the Community Infrastructure Program with the balance of the funding provided by the city. The funds allocated by the city to cover the balance includes a transfer of $150,246 in State Revolving Funds to the project from the Industrial Road Sewer Project which had experienced cost savings; 194,956 in city funds; and an additional $30,000 in CDBG funds requested at the direction of the SC Department of Commerce.

In addition, council also committed the city to providing $150,801 in local matching funds for the Union Mill Village Phase III Project which is expected to cost a total of $650,801.

The city is in the process of applying for a total of $500,000 in CDBG funds for the project through the SC Department of Commerce. The funds, together with those allocated by the city, will be used to finance:

• Sewer line upgrades on portions of Erwin Street, off Main and N. Boyce Streets, Mill Avenue, Spring Street, Green Street, and Lybrand Street.

• The replacement of portions of sidewalks on Lybrand Street, Hicks Street, Lawson Avenue, and N. Boyce Street.

• Installation of handicap ramps on existing sidewalks at street crossing locations throughout the neighborhood.

• The demolition of six vacant and dilapidated structures.

• Installation of 28 new streetlights on existing utility poles.

Thompson said that these and other projects the city has undertaken has been part of its effort to provide infrastructure improvements to those areas of Union that have previously been under-served.

“We’re making an effort to assess our city and see what areas over the years haven’t had any improvements in the past,” Thompson said. “We’re moving them up the priority list.”

One of those areas is the McBeth Street area which Thompson said will be the subject of another infrastructure improvement project, this one designed to clear away derelict buildings.

“I’ve informed city staff that once we finish the McBeth Street Sewer Rehabilitation Project we will go back to that area for a project funded by either the Village Renaissance Program or the Neighborhood Revitalization Program,” Thompson said. “It will focus mainly on Carson Street and Cornwell Street as well as some on McBeth Street. There are a lot of burned out houses on those streets as well as an old abandoned school building.”

Thompson said that in addition to seeking funds from state programs, the city is allocating $30,000 a year for the demolition of abandoned buildings in areas not covered by those programs. He pointed out that many of the programs the city receives funding from are based on a community’s income level.

As Union moves forward with the assessment process, Thompson said the neighborhoods to be covered by the proposed projects will be visited by city personnel seeking income information. Thompson urged the public to cooperate in this effort so that the city can have the information it needs to successfully apply for the grants to fund future infrastructure improvement projects.

By Charles Warner, Staff Reporter with The Union Daily Times