Patrick Springs Water & Sewer Project
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A public water and sewer project in Patrick Springs will ensure residential, industrial and commercial development, according to 9th District U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher.
"This is a perfect example of if you build it, they will come," said Boucher, D-Abingdon, who spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the $5.2 million project.
Boucher worked to secure $5 million in federal funds to build the new system along the U.S. 58 corridor.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Agency provided $1.46 million as a federal grant, and the rest - a little more than $3.5 million - is in the form of two low-interest loans, Boucher said.
Patrick County chipped in $246,000 for the system, which could be expanded to serve other homes and businesses, Boucher said. He estimated that when completed, the system initially will provide water to 210 existing businesses and homes - including the Patrick Springs Primary School - and sewer to 55 existing homes/businesses.
Construction began Tuesday on the 37,000 feet of water lines that will be installed along U.S. 58 east of Stuart to Patrick Springs, along Spring Road, South Mayo Drive, Connect Road, West View Drive, D&W Lane, Providence Drive, Elementary Drive, Friendship Lane, Twin Ford Loop, Pine and Maple streets, Boucher said.
"Adequate and reliable public water and wastewater systems are essential to maintaining our excellent quality of life and are critical to achieving our economic development goals for the region," he said during a ceremony attended by local officials and others.
Currently, residents rely on "small, aging, private water systems which are inadequate to serve the number of homes located in the area," Boucher said. Also, "although the location in Patrick Springs is ideal for commercial and industrial growth, new development in the community has been restricted" by the lack of a public system.
The groundbreaking Tuesday "truly represents a major success for Patrick County residents and another significant step in our ongoing efforts to improve and expand access to public water service throughout Southwest Virginia," Boucher said.
Also attending the ceremony were State Sen. Roscoe Reynolds, D-Ridgeway; Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Collinsville; Ellen Davis, state director, and Art Powers and Anne E.E. Herring, area directors, of the Rural Development agency; and Patrick County and town of Stuart officials.
"This is another step forward for Patrick County," Reynolds said. Areas adjacent to U.S. 58 have not "been able to live up to the full potential because of the lack" of public water and sewer, he added.
"The proper function of government is to provide infrastructure - seed corn if you will - to allow business to grow," Armstrong said.
Infrastructure such as the water and sewer project as well as a project to provide high-speed Internet access to more than 90 percent of the county by the end of this year will contribute to that growth, Armstrong said.
Boucher also worked to secure funding for the Internet project, which will provide broadband to rural areas of the county, including Claudville, Ararat, Critz and Woolwine, he said.
"I look forward to coming back to Patrick County later this year as we inaugurate" the new broadband service in those areas, Boucher said.
He is seeking a 15th term in Congress in the November election and faces challengers Del. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, and independent Jeremiah Heaton of Washington County.
Anne E.E. Herring (from left, with shovels), area director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development; Smith River District Supervisor Crystal Harris; Karl Weiss, chairman of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors; Jimmie East, former supervisor who was instrumental in the water and sewer project; U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher; Ellen Davis, state director with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development; state Sen. Roscoe Reynolds; Stuart Mayor Jimmy McHone; and Del. Ward Armstrong participate in a groundbreaking ceremony on a new water and sewer project for Patrick Springs. (Bulletin photo by Debbie Hall)