For the Cumberland Times-News
CUMBERLAND — Allegany County’s application for a federal grant to help fund a new water system in Rawlings has been approved and more than half a million dollars is on the way for the project, according to a joint press release by U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.
The $566,000 grant is from the U.S.Department of Agriculture Rural Development program to extend Allegany County water mains to connect to the Rawlings community water system and replace the existing distribution system.
The project will also be funded by a loan of $190,000 from USDA-RD to Allegany County, the news release said.
In October, Allegany County commissioners approved the award of a contract for a portion of the Rawlings project.
The $840,537 contract covers the first phase of water transmission line construction.
Additional construction can occur as funding becomes available, said Mark Yoder, county utilities chief.
The contract was awarded to Excavating Associates of Ellerslie, the low bidder. The project will be a multiyear, multiphase project, Yoder has said.
The first phase will get the water line from American Woodmark to about Maple Lane, Yoder said.
Rawlings needs complete replacement of its water and sewer system.
“The sewer line in this area is absolutely terrible,” Paul Kahl, Allegany County Public Works director, has said.
It’s possible that once the replacement is arranged, the county could take over the privately owned Rawlings water system, which will serve about 285 customers after the upgrade.
The county will not take over a failing system.
A survey of homeowners in the area supports an eventual county takeover, officials have said.
“Western Maryland communities are getting the help they need to modernize and update aging infrastructure,” said Cardin. “This funding will provide substantial returns on federal investments by allowing USDA-RD to provide Allegany County with the tools they need to not just grow, but to thrive.”
“Maryland cities and towns need to upgrade their water and sewer infrastructure but they can't do it on their own,” Mikulski said. “These funds will allow Allegany County to update critical infrastructure. It will create construction jobs today and a modernized water system that promotes community health and economic growth tomorrow.”
The project will install individual service meters and construct a new water storage tank.
In addition to the $756,000 from USDA-RD, $800,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant funds will be made available through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
Allegany County will contribute $260,000, the news release said.