EVART — The cities of Evart and Reed City were recently awarded funding for water system updates through the state-led Community Development Block Grant.
The funds have been designated to make necessary infrastructure updates that will benefit both community members and the environment. In Evart, plans to update the city’s sewer collection lines and wastewater treatment plant have been in the works for several years, and were outlined in its most recent capital improvement plan.
With state funding in the amount of $755,250, and a total local match of $251,750, Evart City Manager Pepper Lockhart said the project can now move forward. The updates include the addition of a backup generator for the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and replacements of sewage lines on South Hemlock and South Oak streets.
Lockhart said the installation of a backup generator will ensure that the wastewater treatment plant can continue operating through a catastrophic event, which would be a benefit to all Evart residents.
“If you don’t have a backup generator, that’s highly important for the entire city,” she said.
Since Lockhart took over as city manager last year, she’s been collaborating with other city staff to tackle the highest priority projects charted in the capital improvement plan, with water system updates being at the top of the list. Once the updates have been completed, Lockhart said the city can then move on to other tasks.
“So it’s definitely a planning thing, and preparing for anything that could possibly happen in the community,” she said. “And this will then allow us to move forward with other projects that we have in the same aspect, so our infrastructure is very large.”
Construction impact is expected to be low as the updates are completed. Lockhart said neither South Hemlock and South Oak are major city roads, and replacement of the sewage lines is unlikely to block any traffic.
As for the backup generator, she said installation takes place at the wastewater treatment plan and will probably go unnoticed by the community.
The city of Reed City received $2 million in state grant funding, with an additional local match of $670,000. City Manager Rich Saladin said the award will be put toward replacing a sewage line-supporting trestle bridge, which is suspended over the Hersey River, with a pump station.
Saladin said the bridge has been aging for some time, and its replacement is part of a much larger city infrastructure improvement plan, which has a total estimated cost of $14 million.
“It’s a real blessing for the community because any cost associated, if there was some type of failure, would be drastic,” Saladin said. “It would be terrible for the environment, too.”
The city is in the process of securing additional funds to cover the remaining cost of the overarching improvement plan, but for now, Saladin said he’s glad to finally have the bridge replaced. The bidding process for the bridge project will begin in January 2023, and Saladin expects to break ground during the summer.