By Julia Jones, Correspondent
To stimulate growth in South Belton, the city is considering bringing sewage service to the area around I-35, from Loop 121 to Shanklin Road. The full project is estimated to cost $4.8 million and if chosen will be complete around Sept. 2019.
The department has created two options for construction of the system: Phase 1, which includes only the top half of the project, and Phase 2, which includes the entire system. Director of Public Works Angellia Points said that the council should take into account how soon businesses are looking to develop to the area.
“The whole point of this is to open up South Belton for development,” Points said. “The question we need to ask ourselves is ‘If we build it, will they come, or is development waiting on infrastructure?’”
The Public Works Department will recommend one of the plans for the South Belton Sewer System project at the city council meeting on Jan. 23. The council will then decide whether to implement Phase 1, Phase 2 or neither.
Phase 1 of the project would cost an estimated $2.2 million and would cover the stretch including Loop 121, Capital Way and Grove Road. Phase 2 includes the entirety of Phase 1 plus a stretch of I-35 to Shanklin Road and would cost the full $4.8 million. McLean Construction had the lowest bid for the project.
The full project would set up South and West Belton for development, according to Points. Mayor Marion Grayson said that the city has already lost business opportunities because of the lack of sewer and water lines along I-35.
“Over the last year we’ve had some projects that have looked at properties on south 35…and they don’t stop there because there’s no infrastructure,” Grayson said. “The timing of the infrastructure is too long as they’re going to move forward.”
South Belton poses a challenge to new sewer lines with its geographic makeup. Because of the area’s elevation changes, a force main is required to pump sewage uphill. One of the concerns of the council is that there would be limited growth by Shanklin Road because the pressure of the force main would prevent businesses from building there, according to Public Information Officer Paul Romer.
The council’s decision will be based on if they want the project to be completed now or in the future. City Manager Sam Listi said that the bids from McLean Construction and the financial planning that has been done may mean that the project could be cheapest if completed soon.
“The staff is scrutinizing very thoroughly the funding that we have in place right now to do this project,” Listi said. “Given the bids and the available funds, it’s never likely to be lower than what the cost is right now.”