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2010 Predictions: Clanton

Clanton’s sewer system is in dire need of an upgrade for 2010, Mayor Billy Joe Driver said.

Heavy, consistent rains have worsened the problem of surface water seepage into sewer lines, the main problem Driver was dealing with this week.

“I’ve got to do something on sewer lines. I’ve got to do something to improve them,” he said.

The city received a $500,000 grant to smoke test lines in the West End community. Smoke testing can reveal the presence of holes in lines, but the weather has made testing difficult, Driver said. All other sewer projects are in limbo as the city seeks additional grant money.

When asked about street repairs, Driver said the cost of asphalt has gone up from $53 to $73 per ton in the last two years.

“That cuts back a third of your streets that you could resurface. We’re trying to live within our means, too, and so it’s pretty tough,” he said.

Water lines also need replacing throughout town. Driver estimates many of the lines near downtown are between 75 and 85 years old. For this reason, resurfacing projects may be postponed.

One project that is nearing completion is the civic complex adjacent to Jefferson State Community College on Highway 145. Construction is expected to wind up by late February or March, but that depends on the weather.

Farther north, at I-65 Exit 212, the city is eyeing a third fire station. This project would at least cost $1 million.

“We can get by with it right at the present, but we’ve got to make plans for it,” Driver said.

Leaders and economic development planners are also seeing what land may be available for commercial and industrial business.

“I’d like to see more retail,” Driver said.