THE YEAR AHEAD: Thorsby faces need to paint water tank

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thorsby Mayor Jean Nelson hopes the resurfacing of two roads are among the improvements town residents see in 2014.

The state has approved the resurfacing of Medical Center Drive and Chilton County Road 50 through its ATRIP program.

The cost of the projects is estimated at about $500,000, and the town would be responsible for the engineering work needed, which would amount to 10 percent of the total cost.

The length of Medical Center Drive, which intersects Highway 31 in north Thorsby, would be resurfaced. CR 50 would be resurfaced from the middle of town west to the town limits.

Nelson described the condition of Medical Center Drive as “horrible.”

“They’re going to be so pleased to get that done over there,” she said.

Unfortunately, Nelson said Thorsby doesn’t have the funds on hand to address other road issues.

“We just have to patch them up as best we can,” she said.

Another project residents could see get underway in 2014 is the installation of a storm shelter at the high school football field.

Nelson said Lee Helms Associates, which is facilitating the project, told her that a final go-ahead is needed from the state before work can begin.

Though grants are helping with the roads and storm shelter, Nelson said one project the town will likely not find a grant for is the painting of the town’s water storage tank.

Nelson said painting the tank, which is necessary periodically for routine maintenance, could cost $200,000.

Money for the project has been put back, dating back at least as far as former mayor Dearl Hilyer’s term, but Nelson said there’s still a chance the town would have to borrow money to complete the job.

Also on the subject of the town’s water service, Nelson said replacing old cast iron water lines will continue to be a concern.

Recent cold temperatures have caused several such lines to rupture.

Officials seem to have found a digestable solution to a potentially pricey problem at the town’s sewer lagoon.

Nelson said a pipe that runs to a pump in the lagoon shifted, preventing workers from being able to pull out the pump.

Nelson said she was worried a fix could cost as much as $15,000, but the town’s engineer has found a solution that could cost one-fifth that amount.