Harrison gets $2 million grant

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

With a recent new building housing city offices and Department of Public Works offices and equipment, the recent purchase and planned renovation to the historic Surrey House as the new location for the library, this year’s improvement to Business U.S. 127 through the City and the downtown renovation now housing the Main Street Market, Farmers’ Market and Community Kitchen, Harrison has been showing a lot of improvements.

Now the City will be getting some much needed improvements to its sewer and water systems.

The City of Harrison was one of 14 Michigan communities announced September 27 as the recipients of block grants for infrastructure improvements. Harrison was chose for a $2 million Community Development Block Grant Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to upgrade water and sewer systems.

Forty-eight communities applied for $72.5 million in awards. Fourteen small communities were selected to receive $23.2 million for infrastructure upgrades.
Harrison applied for the grant to upgrade their water and sewer systems.

Harrison City Manager and Clerk Tracey Beadle said the project will include replacing three lift stations and water mains and the purchase of new equipment including a sewer jet and cameras for pipe inspections. “We will be replacing 4” water main with 8” water main on Oak Street from 2nd to 1st Street and Eaton Street from 1st to Park Street, she said.

The ICE grant will pay for sanitary system lift station improvements, water system improvements and additional equipment needed to operate and maintain the infrastructure.

“We’re improving or replacing lift stations that haven’t had much updating since the early 1970s,” said Johnny Phelps, the City’s wastewater treatment plant operator.  “The improvements are going to add a lot of reliability to our collection system and make it safer and easier to maintain.”

“We’ve been getting by, but those lift stations have lived past their life expectancy, it’s dated technology for sure,” Phelps added.

Beadle added, “Thanks to the MEDC ICE grant, we’re going to be able to make vital improvements for the betterment of the community. This $2 million is really going to help retrofit or replace our aging infrastructure. It’s not going to solve all of our infrastructure problems, but it will take some of those things off the needs’ list. I don’t know what we would have done without this grant.”

State, federal and local officials joined community members at City Hall to hear MEDC community assistance team member Chuck Donaldson explain the ICE award. A check presentation was scheduled for Friday, Beadle said.

“It’s exciting to be able to assist our communities in securing significant grant funds for their important infrastructure projects,” said Brian Rowley, Fleis & VandenBrink project manager in Traverse City. “The cost of replacing and repairing what’s broken is staggering and in many cases, cost prohibitive for small communities.”

Beadle said, “As the city continues to work towards their goal of improving the quality of life in our community, upgrades to our water and sewer infrastructure is vital to our goal of a thriving and growing community.”

Consultant Fleis & VandenBrink helped the city apply for the grant and will provide design and construction engineering for the improvements.

Harrison is one three communities receiving the maximum grant amount of $2 million.

Locally, grants were also awarded to Coleman, Grayling, and Roscommon.

Coleman will get a grant for $1.8 million with a $200,000 local match for a $2 million project for waste stabilization and pump station improvements.

Roscommon was selected for a $2 million grant with a $292,000 local match for $2,292,500 to rebuild sanitary sewer gravity main, waste water lift station upgrades and water main replacement. Grayling was awarded $1,531,530 with a local match of $170,170 for sewer improvements totaling $1,701,700.

Other grants went to Adrian, Bad Axe, Buckley, Croswell, Deckerville, Grand Haven, Hillsdale, Lake Odessa, Lapeer and Vernon.

All projects must be completed by December 31, 2019, a release from Kathleen Achtenberg of the MEDC said. She wrote, “Announced last November, the 2017 Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement grant program was intended to accelerate economic development and assist low and moderate income communities in making improvements or upgrades to their existing public infrastructure systems. Activities could include: water lines and related facilities; sanitary and storm sewer lines and related facilities; wastewater treatment plants and related activities; and road replacement activities related to these projects. Grants of between $500,000 and $2 million would be awarded to eligible communities on a competitive basis.”

Communities had to provide a minimum of 10 percent match and demonstrate a locally approved Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) where the proposed project was specifically identified within the CIP.

All projects are required to be completed by December 31, 2019.

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