Sewer service could expedite new firehouse

First Posted: 12/5/2009

Mount Airy and Surry County officials have been asked to speed up sewer work along N.C. 89 to serve a proposed new Franklin Volunteer Fire Department station.
The facility is eyed for a site of about 10 acres owned by local businessman Gary York, which is between Gentry Middle and North Surry high schools.
Both York and Richard Seaver, a member of the fire departments board of directors who is spearheading plans for the new station, attended a meeting of the City-County Liaison Committee Thursday to address the sewer service.
Seaver explained that it is needed since the fire station possibly will include living quarters equipped with showers and other facilities. He said that in planning the new building, the fire department doesnt want to install a septic tank an alternative to using a public system then later have to pay for sewer lines as well.
The new fire station is expected to cost between $1.3 million and $1.5 million, including both the construction and land, said Seaver, who added that there is no firm commitment as yet to occupy the land owned by York.
Were looking at a couple or three different properties, Seaver said.
Speed seemed to be an issue Thursday when he and York addressed the liaison group, which is made up of city and county officials who meet to discuss joint efforts that often involve water and sewer projects.
Were ready to talk to the architect, Seaver told the city and county leaders.
The extension of sewer lines to areas along the N.C. 89 corridor toward interstates 77 and 74 already has been planned by the city and county, with designs in place. However, officials told York and Seaver Thursday that the service sought for the property in question could take 18 to 24 months to achieve.
But at the urging of the two, city and county officials said they would attempt to expedite the project by re-examining existing plans and trying to combine them into a new proposal that would serve the York property on N.C. 89.
Staff members from both local governments are to study the issue and present firm answers about the time frame at the committees next meeting in early January.
The estimated cost of the requested extension is about $1 million, based on Thursdays discussion. But officials indicated that money could be saved by using a gravity-flow system rather than a pump-station approach now planned, which would make the project more feasible. They also say that with the economy allowing for lower construction costs nowadays, speeding up the work makes sense from that standpoint.
Such an extension further would benefit the educational facilities in the area, according to an school representative at Thursdays meeting.
Robert Draughn, who oversees facilities for Surry County schools, said it would eliminate costs associated with the existing sewage method used. Its just an ongoing expense to the school system, Draughn said.
Craig Hunter, chairman of the Surry County Board of Commissioners, said Thursday that the group wants to see the sewer-line extension accomplished to serve an overall need in that area, and will find the funding to do so one way or another.
Were going to chase some grant money, but our boards committed to do it, Hunter said.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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