Lockhart receives check for $500,000

The Town of Lockhart moved a step closer Tuesday morning to replacing some century-old water and sewer lines.

Martha Whittaker, grants manager for the SC Department of Commerce, presented Lockhart Mayor Ailene Ashe with a check for $500,000 during a ceremony at the Lockhart Town Hall. The town was awared the funds in July through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Small Cities program. The program is offered to South Carolina’s municipalities and counties through the Department of Commerce’s CDBG Infrastructure Program.

The grant will be used to finance the upgrade of sewer lines and a water line in the northwestern part of the town. The cast-iron water line and the terracotta sewer lines were installed in the early 1900s and have deteriorated over time.

The water line, which runs between North Second and North Third streets, will be replaced with a new six-inch PVC line. The sewer lines, which run from Mill Street to North Fifth Street and from Lockhart Drive to Summit Drive, will be replaced with new eight-inch PVC lines.

Three new fire hydrants will also be installed in the area as part of the upgrade.

The grant, which will be matched with $126,550 in local funds, is one of four grants totaling $1.75 million awarded in July to Lockhart, the Town of Jonesville, the City of Union and Union County through the CDBG Infrastructure Program. The projects funded by the grants will benefit more than 1,300 people, the majority of whom are low- to moderate-income. This includes 195 Lockhart residents, 144 of whom are low- to moderate-income.

The applications for the grants were prepared by the Catawba Regional Council of Governments and submitted to the Department of Commerce’s Grants Administration in April. Catawba Regional is also administering the project for Lockhart, and Grazier Rhea, community development director for Catawba Regional, said the project is in the engineering stage. Rhea said that once the engineering phase is complete, the project will be submitted to DHEC for approval. When it receives that approval, Rhea said it will be put out to bid, probably sometime in the spring of 2012. Once the winning bid is approved, Rhea said construction should get underway by summer.

While the work will not begin for several months, Ashe nevertheless expressed optimism about the project and what it means for the town.

“It means that we are doing what our ‘Welcome to Lockhart’ sign says,” Ashe said. “We are ‘preparing for the future.’”

By Charles Warner, Reporting for The Union Daily Times