By Jason Emerson
The town of Nelson has received a $1.7 million grant from New York state to be used for the proposed water service extension up Route 20. This grant, coupled with the $200,000 federal grant Nelson received in August, means the project to bring municipal water three miles up Route 20 has received enough financial help to move forward.
“This is terrific news to our communities, and specifically the three miles of our Route 20 corridor without quality or volume of water,” said Nelson Supervisor Roger Bradstreet, who said he received a call from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office Thursday morning with the news. “Businesses will be able to connect fire systems installed but never activated; a pre-school and businesses can safely allow people to drink better quality water without treatment at each location; fire hydrants can be strategically located — all good news to the three communities involved.”
The water line extension project is a cooperative endeavor between the town of Nelson and Cazenovia and the village of Cazenovia to extend municipal water farther up Route 20, connect to more residential and business properties, improve quality of life and spur economic development.
The $1.71 million grant comes from the New York State Clean Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2017. The office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Oct. 5 announced 16 drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects throughout Central New York, of which Nelson’s was one.
The town of Cazenovia also received money from the announced grants — $44,589 to be used toward work needed in the Mt. Pleasant Water District to improve water quality and reduce arsenic levels in the water of that district. The work was required to meet Environmental Protection Agency guidance levels for water quality.
“This $45,000 goes a long way to fix problems without residents having to pay more on their water bills,” said Cazenovia Supervisor Bill Zupan. “And the [$1.7 million] means the Route 20 water line can go forward, and I think’s great. This shows a great cooperation between three municipalities — the village, the town and the town of Nelson; we all worked together to provide safe, reliable water to everyone along Route 20. All in all, today was a good day to be a supervisor.”
The Rout 20 water line project would extend the municipal line three miles up the median of Route 20, with branches to each property in the district, as well as a line down Trush Boulevard. The plans call for a pump station to be placed near Stone Quarry Road and a 100,000-gallon water storage tank at the highest point of the system. The project would also bring fire service up the three-mile portion of Route 20.
The towns and Nelson of Cazenovia will be responsible for the construction of the water line and the village of Cazenovia will sell the water to be used in the new district and operate and maintain the system.
In mid-June, all three municipalities authorized the formation of a new water district to cover the proposed project area. This formation was needed in order to apply for grants to help fund the $2.8 million project.
Officials from all three municipalities agreed that unless approximately 60 percent of the project cost can be covered by grants, the project will not be undertaken.
Bradstreet said that work on the new water line can now start as early as next spring. In the meantime, the three municipalities will continue to look for additional grant funding for the remaining $900,000 of the project, he said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.