By Adam Pack
At the regular meeting of the Alderson Town Council on Thursday, Feb. 9, the Town of Alderson approved a change in the upcoming work on their new water plant. Previously, engineers with the Thrasher Group were attempting to find a way to use Muddy Creek as the alternative water source for the city. A new water plant cannot be built without the receiving party first demonstrating that there is a suitable alternative water source, as measured by average flow (gallons per hour). Muddy Creek, initially thought to have an adequate flow of at least 300-350 gallons per hour, has proven after testing not to have the flow required. Mayor Copenhaver wanted to stress that, as of now, “we are not looking at Muddy Creek as an alternative water source. We’ve said that since the plan began; that was where we were going. Not anymore.” Copenhaver said that looking forward, “two huge wells that get treated at the [current water] plant are one of the possibilities that we’re working on right now.”
The council then moved on to discussing the first steps in water line rehabilitation and extension. A price for the project was quoted by Mayor Copenhaver as costing $10,317,000.
“Of that, $925,000 has been approved from the Army Corps of Engineers; $2,000,000 from Congressionally Directed Spending; $1,125,000 from the IJDC; $1,000,000 from the DWTRF [West Virginia’s Drinking Water Treatment Revolving Fund]; a loan from the DWTRF loan for $4,000,867; and a non-federal congressional match of $400,000. Those last three things, not including the non-federal match, have been applied for,” Copenhaver explained.
With the aforementioned funds either secured or applied for, the council was able to vote on whether or not to approve Copenhaver’s submission request for the non-federal match funds. The council approved the submission unanimously. After the approval, Copenhaver read out the breakdown of the quoted $10,317,000 figure: “$8,600,500 for construction; $1,263,000 for engineering; $310,000 for legal, accounting and administration; $135,000 for land and rights of ways; and $8,500 for permit fees.” The council approved the breakdown of payments unanimously.
The council then discussed Resolution #3, which was an invoice from the Thrasher Group via the Region IV Planning and Development Council. The payment goes first to Region IV Planning, and after approval goes to Thrasher from the city’s finances. The invoice totals $149,515.14.
The council also voted on the approval of $8,330,000 for a draw request for the water plant relocation project from Community Block Grant Development/MIT Funds. The funds will break down as follows: $175,000 for management; $40,000 for accounting; $1,250,000 for architectural engineering; $220,000 for land acquisition; $6,15,000 for construction; $8,500 for permits; and $45,000 for legal and administrative fees. All of these funds would come out of the CDBG/MIT Grant Funds, the submission for which was approved unanimously by the council.
In other news, councilmembers and the public heard an encouraging presentation from Elizabeth Reynolds of the WVU Greenbrier County Extension Office. Reynolds, a Nutrition Educator, works regularly at Greenbrier County elementary and middle schools and gives lectures and presentations at area high schools on healthy eating and life habits. Reynolds was present in Alderson to brief the council on the WVU Extension Office recent endeavors in the town, namely through the “Walk With Ease” and the LUCAS Mobile Cancer screening unit.
Walk With Ease is a citizen-led program to help those struggling with arthritis and other mobility limitations to alleviate their pain through walking the trail locally known as “The Bridge Trail.” The program was launched by Reynolds herself, saying she selected Alderson for “the need here to educate people about the benefits of light motion, the beautiful scenery, and the wonderful Bridge Trail which works so well. At exactly one mile long and offering so many wonderful views of the river, it was an easy choice.” Reynolds, who herself became a certified instructor with the Walk With Ease program, distributed textbooks to locals to help create a local leadership team to make the program sustainable. “We’re still seeing really great participation and we’re really proud of the work we’ve been able to do and the lives we’ve helped.” Reynolds also helped secure a grant to place benches along the path of the trail. Visiting the town, one will see green benches along the trail, with another to be installed after the completion of renovations to the Alderson Elementary school.
Secondarily, Reynolds discussed the success of the LUCAS Mobile Screening Unit. LUCAS, an acronym based on the phrase Lung Cancer Screening Unit, left WVU last year on a 42-county road trip around the state bringing state-of-the-art cancer screening services and equipment to residents in rural portions of the state. The Alderson stop of the trip was very beneficial to the area according to Reynolds, with dozens receiving screening, many for the first time, and a handful of patients being referred for advanced treatment based on results of the mobile screening lab. The screening unit was accompanied by a giant inflatable lung, allowing traveling medical staff to give locals who came to the unit a graphic representation of what lung cancer looks like, as well as the effects of smoking and vaping on lung tissue. The unit was very well received by the people of Alderson, so much so that WVU will be sending LUCAS back to the area this summer, as early as June or as late as July. Interested parties may reach out to the Greenbrier County WVU Extension Office at 304-647-7408 (or 7409), or email GreenbrierCountyExtension@mail.wvu.edu for more information.
The Alderson Town Council meets on the second Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Alderson City Hall Building. The public is encouraged to attend. Interested parties should call ahead to confirm time and date of meeting at 304-445-2916, as times and dates of meetings are subject to change.