EASLEY — The city of Easley has applied for a Community Development Block Grant on behalf of Easley Combined Utilities for the improvement of the city’s West End.
“The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is administered by Housing and Urban Development and is a federal program,” Joel Ledbetter, director of Easley Combined Utilities, explained during an Easley City Council meeting. “The federal funds are administered by the state’s Department of Commerce and the city has applied on our behalf. The Appalachian Council of Governments also helped the city with the application.”
The grant, a maximum of $750,000 per year, is designed to improve neighborhoods and communities consisting of a minimum of 51 percent low to moderate income residents.
“What we call the West End sewer is right across South 5th Street and is probably what most everyone calls the old Easley Mill Village,” Ledbetter said. “Some of those sewer lines are at least 60 years old and in poor, poor shape. We (ECU) know because we have issues with them and we maintain them.”
Although the project to improve the sewer system is based on the age of facilities used, the transition to more modern technology wouldn’t be an easy one.
“We actually ran a camera through these lines to see what kind of shape they’re in and there’s really no way to repair them,” said Ledbetter. “They need to be completely rehabilitated and rebuilt and when we do that we are going to have to move the easements out to the streets and sidewalks because some of these old sewer lines are in back alleys, under houses, and inaccessible.”
Ledbetter expects the decision on the grant to be made no sooner than July or August, but the city and ECU are prepared if the city is successful in its application.
“As soon as we get the go ahead we can have things in motion in about 45 days,” Ledbetter said of the city’s preparedness for the project. “The entire project has been designed by an engineering firm and is ready to go as soon as approval for the grant comes in.”
The anticipated completion time on the improvement project would be approximately 12 to 13 months once the grant approval is received.