Infrastructure upgrades to Rainelle’s water system project near completion

By Peggy Mackenzie

A long-awaited pet project has finally been realized for Rainelle’s Mayor Andrea “Andy” Pendleton. The town’s water system is nearing the end of a year-long upgrade that focused mainly on replacing pipelines. Pendleton said the project will wrap up within the next two weeks.

That’s not to say there weren’t frustrations along the way. Over the years when new pipe sections were added, the system’s maps weren’t always updated, leaving the workers with Samco, the Huntington area company in charge of the $3.2 million water project, to dig and discover where the pipes were located. “I call them the ‘D and D Boys,’ – dig and discover,” Pendleton said. “Some sections were laid across the road from where you’d expect them to be, and the only way to find them was to dig around.”

Yet even with glitches, Pendleton said, “Everyone is talking about how good the water is.”

The project was financed with a low interest loan from USDA Rural Development in the amount of $2.7 million to be repaid over time at $10,000 a month. The mayor said she believes the end result was well worth the cost. This is a project Pendleton wanted to have done when she was first elected mayor, and now “its done.”

“People got great water as a result of this project,” she said.

A second long-time priority of Pendleton’s is also growing legs, and that’s the much needed flood control project. She said she received notice last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to perform a feasibility study for the project as the first step toward developing a comprehensive flood control plan for the town.

“I’ve been working on this for eight years,” Pendleton said, “and we’re finally getting something done.”

Like any costly upgrade, finding funding to match the required 35-percent match for what promises to be a multimillion-dollar flood control project won’t be easy. And Pendleton says, the town also still needs storm drains, sidewalks and repairs to several side roads.

The infrastructure upgrades may be overwhelming at times, but Pendleton’s approach is to “just keep doing as much as we can.”


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