On Tuesday, February 23, Davie County was notified that it had been selected to receive more than $21 million in funding to expand its Cooleemee Water Treatment Plant, which will replace Mocksville’s Hugh A. Lagle Water Treatment Plant and promote regional cooperation in public services. The funds for this project were approved at the State Water Infrastructure Authority’s meeting on February 10.
The State Water Infrastructure Authority is an independent body with primary responsibility for awarding federal and state funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. The funding was made available through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program, Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program, the Drinking Water and Wastewater State Reserve programs and the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act.
In total, North Carolina issued $282 million in loans and grants for 94 water and wastewater projects across the state. When highlighting specific projects, Governor Roy Cooper recognized the significance of the project in Davie County, noting “North Carolina’s communities need resilient, viable water infrastructure systems to support economic development. Funding these projects helps counties and towns with aging water infrastructure deliver clean, safe water to attract new jobs and keep people healthy.”
This grant allows for the decommission (i.e. closure) of the aging water treatment plants located in Cooleemee and Mocksville. These funds will put Davie County in a position to construct a new plant located at the current Cooleemee site, which will be robust enough to serve the county’s entire Cooleemee and Mocksville service area, with help from the Sparks Road Water Treatment Plant.
The full breakdown for the funding award includes:
“We are excited about this funding opportunity, which will allow us to merge our resources and avoid costly duplicated efforts. I am especially grateful for the support we received from our state and local partners throughout the application process. Our combined efforts will allow us to provide the most economical solution to all residents and businesses of Davie County,” said Johnny Lambert, Public Utilities Director.
As with any project of this size, much work and effort takes place behind the scenes. As the community has demonstrated in the past, this is another great example of individuals working together in collaboration to produce an end result that benefits the community as a whole.
On behalf of the Town of Cooleemee, Mayor Jessica Almond expressed the town’s excitement surrounding this funding opportunity. “We are grateful for the grant received to rebuild the Water Treatment Plant located on Main Street in Cooleemee. The plant has provided quality water throughout the county for years, and we look forward to not only seeing how this new facility will look but how it will help both the town and county in the future.”
On behalf of the Town of Mocksville, Mayor Will Marklin explained how this funding award will allow the needs of residents to be served both now and in the future in the most affordable manner.
“Working with the county to ensure our citizens have a clean, safe water supply for the next generation was our primary concern in moving toward regionalization. The Hugh Lagle Water Treatment Plant in Mocksville has served the town for many years but is well beyond useful life. Renovations to our current facility will cost much more than partnering with the county to build a new water treatment plant. In addition, the current source that provides water to the Hugh Lagle plant would not meet future needs according to Mocksville’s projected growth rate. The Town of Mocksville is fortunate to have a close working relationship with Davie County leadership. We look forward to working with all of our partners to keep our tax rates low while providing exceptional services to our citizens.”
Terry Renegar, Chair of the Davie County Board of Commission echoed Marklin’s sentiments, reinforcing the importance of the funding’s favorable finance terms. “Sustainable infrastructure at cost effective rates is critical to quality of life and economic development. Davie County is very fortunate to participate in this project with the Town of Mocksville and Town of Cooleemee to deliver a long-term water solution for all residents. Without the support and commitment of our North Carolina Legislators, Representative Julia Howard and Senator Joyce Krawiec, the very favorable finance terms from the State would not have been possible.”
Terry Bralley, President of the Economic Development Commission shared why he believes the approach of regionalization makes sense when addressing public service needs.
“I believe it is time for regionalization of public services. Combining services and knowledge will allow consistency, provide more efficiency and cost savings. Utilities are certainly a great starting point. These decisions require wisdom and the political maturity to better serve now and in the future. With the benefit of providing cost savings to our citizens, coupled with and the ever-changing standards required by the state and federal government, building a new and modern, combined facility makes perfect sense.”
The project is currently in the design phase and construction is expected to begin in January of 2022. The projected completion date is December of 2023.