Engineer says that construction on the new water plant can potentially start as early as next spring
By Sarah Richardson
The Lewisburg City Council met for their regular monthly meeting on Sept. 21 at City Hall. Councilmembers approved a temporary building inspector, discussed water plant upgrades, heard updates regarding the public bathroom winterizing at City Hall, and more.
The council unanimously approved a contract for Bobby Ford to take over duties as Lewisburg’s building inspector temporarily while the regular building inspector is out on leave. Ford is currently the inspector for Greenbrier County, but City Manager Misty Hill assured council that he could perform both duties as needed. “It takes a certification, [this job] can’t be done by just anyone, it has to be a certified building inspector.”
The second reading of Ordinance 295 was held, and passed without any public comment and a unanimous vote from council. This ordinance adjusts some rental fees for city parks to help cover costs of cleanup and standard maintenance.
The new rates are as follows, and will be made effective as on January 1, 2022:
- Lewisburg Parks Shelter Reservation: $50/day
- Lewisburg Parks Concession Stand Use: $10/day or $100 per season
- Dorie Miller Ballfield Reservation: $10/day or $100 per season
- Hollowell Ballfield Reservation: $10/day or $100 per season
Greg Belcher with Chapman Technical Group spoke to council via ZOOM to explain the process of replacing the three filter medias at the municipal water plant, and how that process will affect the city. He explained that their contractor will remove the current water filter medias, make any necessary repairs, then install the new filters. After installing the new filters, they need to be “backwashed and disinfected,” before they can be put back into service. They plan to wait at least a week between each of the three filter installations to allow for water levels to recover in the tanks, making the overall process take roughly 30-45 days “if things go without a hitch.”
Once that work is completed, “the plant should not have any difficulties continuing to provide a safe and dependable supply of water until we get the new plant online.”
These new filters are intended to resolve some of the issues the city has had as of late with “high turbidity” levels in the water, a technical term for cloudy and sediment-filled water. On several occasions, the city has been forced to under temporary boil water advisories after sediment levels rose out of normal parameters. However, with the new filter medias, these issues won’t be as paramount of a concern as they’ve been in recent months.
Belcher said that he thinks it will be November or afterwards that the federal government will have funds available for the start of construction on the new municipal water plant, but estimates that construction can begin as early as next spring.
City Manager Hill said that the city should be officially closing on the property located adjacent to the water plant on Stonehouse Road in Caldwell for the plant expansion and the relocation of the Public Works headquarters within 30 days. The city has also recently gained the necessary 80 percent easements needed to move the location of the water intake pump from the Greenbrier River to the plant.
In other news:
- Councilmember Sarah Elkins reported that new walking lights have been installed at Hollowell Park, and that work on the new pickleball courts is in full swing. She notes that “lots of interested parties” are raising funds for pickleball.
- Finance Committee Chair Arron Seams reports that Schleiff Construction placed a bid of $9,738.20 to provide improvements to the public bathrooms located outside of City Hall. This bid covers the winterizing of the bathrooms so they can remain open year-round without issue. Council also approved the second payment to Schleiff Constriction in the amount of $100,000 for the ongoing restoration and painting work to the outside of City Hall.
Seams reported that The Thrasher Engineering Group has provided a “broad overview” of plans for the new fire station off of Grand Avenue. These engineers were chosen by the Fire Station Selection Committee after reviewing a variety of proposals from engineering groups around the east coast. A lump sum of $595,000 was approved by council to cover the first part of project development.
- Hill reports that the construction next to City Hall is the placing Stratton Alley’s power lines underground. This is a project that has been approved for roughly two years. She says that due to the pandemic, construction that has already been started requires an additional $16,425 to complete. The council approved the change order.
- Mayor Beverly White reported that the city supports Carnegie Hall’s decision to cancel Taste of Our Town (TOOT) for the second year in a row due to COVID-19 safety concerns. While disheartening, she encourages everyone to show support to the Hall if they are able.
White also recognized those who reach out to City Hall in times of uncertainty. “I appreciate those who take the time to call and get their information from City Hall any time there has been a concern. We are happy to address citizen’s concerns, and I also appreciate the support and understanding the city receives when issues arise that we do our best to address.”