KEYSER - Although chances seem slim that their request will be approved, the Keyser City Council moved Monday to submit a Small Cities Block Grant application for stabilization of the Limestone Dam.

The dam, formerly the city's sole water source, was drained a number of years ago when the city did not have sufficient funds to keep the impoundment in compliance with federal and state regulations.

Although the City of Keyser has submitted numerous applications for funding to refurbish the dam, their applications have been denied each time.

Despite that poor record, Ken Dyche, executive director of the Region 8 Planning and Development Council, recommended Monday that the city resubmit the application as a means of "holding a place" in the application process.

According to Region 8, the renovation of the dam is currently No. 47 in a prioritized list of 100 projects proposed throughout the region.

Posing a roadblock for funding projects this year is lack of funding, prompting the SCBG program to decrease the number of applications being accepted this year.

"The state will receive just around $17 million," he said, explaining that the grant program has previously had between $20 million and $22 million available to help municipalities and counties with water and sewer and community development projects.

And while $17 million may still seem like a lot of money, "it's really not a lot in an era when even a small project can cost $1 million, but most are at least $2 to $3 million," he said.

Although the city of Keyser has submitted and resubmitted its application for the stabilization of the Limestone Dam -- formerly the city's sole source of water - Dyche said the project was a good way to "hold a place" in the application process.

"The state has said its intent is to fund only water and sewer projects this time around, but politics can make anything happen," he said.

"This is one of the better applications we have in the region and it's one of the better applications they have in its category in the state.

"It won't be a competitive application at this time, but it's a way of keeping a seat open at the table."

James Street resident and Keyser firefighter Dave Harman praised the city officials for keeping the former dam in their sights for renovation.

"It's a great project that needs to be done," he said.

Noting that the dam "was the city's sole source of water for a long time," and that New Creek is now the city's only water supply, Harman said he has been advocating seeking out alternative water sources for some time.

"Putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea," he said.

Although Dyche asked for comments on other prospective projects from the public attending Monday's city council meeting, no suggestions were proposed.

Deadline to submit the application is July 28.

Liz Beavers can be reached at lbeavers@times-news.com.

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