By BRAD KELLAR
The Greenville City Council is considering a plan to open up a wide area of southwest Greenville to economic development.
The problem is it is likely to cost millions of dollars to install the plumbing infrastructure necessary and the work will take years to complete, according to a report presented to the council Tuesday by City Manager Massoud Ebrahim.
Ebrahim explained that in 1998, the city annexed more than 4,000 acres, including property in the area along Interstate 30 between FM 1570 and Monty Stratton Parkway.
“And 15 years later, we do not have sanitary sewer and water service for this area, especially along this corridor,” Ebrahim said.
The region has been identified as having the most potential for future growth in Greenville, as development moves toward the city from the west.
Ebrahim said the city needs to start installing the infrastructure now, if it expects to take advantage of interest from those wishing to locate along the corridor.
“This is a going to be a long term project,” Ebrahim said. “This is going to be another two years before we have sanitary sewer available.”
One year ago, the council entered into a contract with Freese and Nichols for the preliminary design of a 1 million gallon per day regional lift station.
The initial results of the study, revealing what the agency believes is needed to provide service to the corridor, was part of Tuesday’s presentation. The work would include not only building and installing the lift station, but gravity pipelines and force mains to run the effluent to the wastewater treatment station on the east side of Greenville.
“It is a huge area,” Ebrahim said. “We’ve got close to 10 miles of pipeline, total.”
Ebrahim was proposing completing the project in stages, with the first phase calling for the installation of approximately 35,000 feet of pipeline and the lift station, at an estimated cost of $5 million.
The design and construction of the project would take between 18 months and two years, he explained, and if the council approves the plan next month, the system could be in service by the end of 2015.
“The total project, if we are going to do all of it, is $12 million,” Ebrahim said.
Current businesses along the corridor, at least some of whom currently operate on septic systems, would be charged a “tap fee” to be included on the sanitary sewer system once it is installed.
“Everybody along the Monty Stratton Corridor is going to be charged a tap fee, because the City of Greenville is going to invest $5 million,” Ebrahim said.
There was $2.5 million included in capital improvement funding for the water and sewer fund in the current year’s city budget, which Ebrahim said would be enough to at least cover the costs of engineering and designing the project.
Ebrahim said the funds for the project would come from water and sewer fees as part of local utility bills and would not come from property taxes. He hopes the council would consider taking the remainder of the funds from future reserve balances, rather than issuing revenue bonds.
“We are going to bring it to you and do whatever is the pleasure of the council,” Ebrahim said. “If we have a healthy water reserve, then we want to pay as we go and not borrow.”