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Massive sewer project eyed

Maplesville is looking at extending its sewer system to at least 70 percent of areas within town limits, including the industrial park.

Town leaders met with Sentell Engineering Tuesday to discuss what the project would entail, and Mayor Kurt Wallace brought the idea to Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Wallace said that by borrowing an estimated $2.5 million, the town could extend sewer along U.S. Highway 82 and all residential neighborhoods, creating an attractive infrastructure to prospective businesses.

“When you look at it, we’re in an ideal situation,” Wallace said. “We have a good work force here that can provide, but until we have infrastructure, we aren’t going to get anything.”

The town has completed the first two phases of its sewer project. The first phase included the public school and downtown area, and the second phase was the Shepherd Hill community. The third phase, Mitchell Hill, will be funded through stimulus money.

The mayor favors borrowing money and applying for grants to complete all six phases rather than doing it one phase at a time, which could take as long as 15 years. Increased income from additional sewer customers, he says, will help fund the project as it moves along.

“If we can do it now and get somebody in here, the town will start growing immediately,” he said. “We want a future for our families, our children and grandchildren. If we don’t take steps now, it won’t happen.”

Wallace pointed out the town’s proximity to auto manufacturing plants in the state — 49 miles from Mercedes-Benz, 56 miles from Hyundai, 98 miles from Honda and 158 miles from Thyssen Krupp Steel and Stainless USA. He said Maplesville could be a prime location for a tier 1 or tier 2 automobile supplier.

Wallace also stressed the need for more town boards to plan for future growth, such as an industrial development board and zoning board.

“It’s hard for me to focus on every aspect of future growth of this town by myself. I want participation from council members and citizens at large,” he said.