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Beshear presents sewer $

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By Brad Bowman

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and local officials celebrated the much-anticipated Community Development Block Grant for Eminence’s wastewater treatment expansion project last week.

Excessive rainwater coupled with sewage from Pleasureville and Eminence has overwhelmed the treatment plant, which operates at 94 percent of capacity. The $647,000 grant will help equip the plant with two larger pumps, increase lagoon production with a LemTech process that uses covers on baffled lagoons to control algae growth and contain heat; all costing an estimated 48 percent less than a conventional plant expansion.

Eminence Mayor Drane Stephens said the expansion couldn’t be delayed any longer.

“It was a long process but it was well worth it,” Stephens said. “We’ve really gotten to a point to where we really couldn’t wait any longer. We had to either go this route or a different route. I am so glad the way it fell together and we were able to get this block grant because I really didn’t want to go into a long term financing situation, incur any debt and we would’ve been forced to do that. It was an honor to meet the governor and his staff. I appreciate the priority they put on Eminence, on our health and welfare with our sewer system as well as Pleasureville.”

Henry County Judge-Executive John Logan Brent addressed attendees outside Eminence City Hall thanking those involved in making the project possible.

“This has been 10 years in the making,” Brent said. “There have been several city councils and I don’t know how many mayors. We are very grateful to Governor Beshear, his staff and everyone who helped bring this important, long-awaited project to fruition.”

Tony Wilder, Department for Local Government Commissioner, said $7 million in funding is set aside statewide for projects. Eminence put up $503,000 of its own funding in reserves and cash with $350,000 from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority in addition to the $647,000 CDBG grant for the estimated $1.5 million sewer project.

“The project lowers potential for environmental risks and alleviates citizens’ concerns in Eminence and Pleasureville,” Wilder said. “The plant’s expanded capacity will support growth in the communities and continue to offer citizens reliable, easy access to clean and safe water.”

Beshear said the city’s willingness to cover part of the bill for the expansion and the collaborative effort from Brent and State Rep. Rick Rand helped make the decision easier.

“Water treatment and sewage treatment are vital to a community and I know that Eminence, Pleasureville and this whole area have been working on this for 10 years or so now,” Beshear said.

“We’ve had tough economic times and there isn’t a lot of money laying around to do anything with. It certainly helped that the judge is here. I know him and I know when he tells me something is needed I can count on it. Having Rep. Rick Rand as part of this along with the mayor really helped us zero in on this area as a priority for us. This is $1.5-million project that’s a lot of money to put together in tough times.”

Rand said he’s just glad to see the project come together.

“This community block grant really goes through the governor’s office. My work on it was working with state officials to make sure that it was on top of the pile,” he said. “I met with the governor a couple of times to tell him how important this project was, why we were asking for this grant and just tell him that this project was important. Hopefully that helped. I think the project sold itself, but nevertheless these projects are very competitive and a lot of communities are trying to get their share. I am just glad we were able to get it done.”

The governor said he looks at several hundred applications each year for projects and Eminence was the obvious choice.

“You look at each project and you look at how badly it’s needed,” Beshear said. “Eminence waited 10 years. When you looked at the criteria and the city is stepping up that’s part of how we make the decision is— how much is the local community willing to participate. Eminence is putting up half million, $300,000 of which is cash that is significant for a town this size.”