Chicka­mauga awarded fi­nal $1.2 mil­lion grant, pre­pared to up­grade water sys­tem

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page - By Mike O’Neal

The U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce’s Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion (EDA) and the U.S. Ap­palachian Re­gional Com­mis­sion (ARC) are award­ing $1.2 mil­lion in grants ($720,135/ EDA, $462,544/ARC) to the city of Chicka­mauga to make crit­i­cal water im­prove­ments needed to pro­tect the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity from fire and other threats.

The im­proved in­fra­struc­ture will serve a ma­jor floor­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany and will en­cour­age busi­ness ex­pan­sions and re­cruit­ment to the re­gion. Ac­cord­ing to grantee es­ti­mates, the project will help pro­tect 1,000 jobs and $100 mil­lion in pri­vate in­vest­ment.

That is what the of­fi­cials said when Chicka­mauga was awarded the fifth, and fi­nal, grant that will al­low up­grad­ing its water sys­tem.

What it means is that prop­erty in the area of U.S. High­way 27 be­tween Shaw In­dus­tries’ S/I plant, just north of West Chicka­mauga Creek, and the Food Lion shop­ping plaza can sup­port new com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment.

Se­cur­ing this lat­est grant, along with oth­ers, will fund an in­fra­struc­ture project — with an orig­i­nally es­ti­mated price tag of about $2.6 mil­lion — aimed at as­sur­ing in­creased de­liv­ery vol­ume and sta­bi­lize pres­sure through­out the city-owned water util­ity.

“We com­mend the city of Chicka­mauga and lo­cal lead­ers for their fo­cus on help­ing to pro­tect and grow their lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing base,” Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for Re­gional Af­fairs Den­nis Alvord said in an­nounc­ing the EDA grant. “The vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments will help pro­tect busi­nesses from the men­ace posed by fire and make the re­gion more at­trac­tive to fu­ture busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.”

Mea­sures to im­prove the safety and com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity of the area were made clear when a se­ries of un­fore­see­able events threat­ened the city’s water sup­ply.

A rup­tured water main left some res­i­dents in the area near the city schools with­out water for al­most 20 hours dur­ing the 2013 Christ­mas hol­i­days.

Next, in the sum­mer of 2014, the main pump at the city’s pri­mary well was de­stroyed by a light­ning strike. The next sum­mer — and again in 2015 — a six-inch water main break­ing caused ma­jor traf­fic headaches on U.S. High­way 27.

If that wasn’t enough to war­rant con­cern, a valve failed, not once but twice, near the Food Lion shop­ping cen­ter. The loss of water from the util­ity’s own wells re­sulted in the city hav­ing to pay for about 200,000 gal­lons of water from the Walker County Water & Sew­er­age Sys­tem

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