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Lift station improvements are part of a plan to make room for more businesses

 
BY GEOFFREY RITTER
INTERIM MANAGING EDITOR
GRITTER@LOCALSOUTHERNNEWS.COM
Posted on 5/26/2017, 5:00 AM

Economic development may be a long game, but Du Quoin leaders are hoping to pump some new urgency into the effort.

Attracting prospective new businesses is a driving force behind city leaders' acceptance of a bid this week to improve the Grant Way lift station on the city's south side -- a project that will increase the city's capability to pump wastewater and sewage away from the business district.

Following a brief presentation by Andy Rainwater of Clarida and Ziegler Engineering, city commissioners voted to accept a bid in the amount of $246,000 from Haier Plumbing and Heating from Okawville. It was the lowest of four bids received.

Doug Bishop, the city's consulting engineer, said the bulk of the work will be paid for through a $238,000 grant the city received from the Delta Regional Authority. Bishop said the work, expected to wrap in August, will include electrical upgrades, improvements to interior concrete at the site and repairing sidewalls.

Also, the new effort will see the replacement of three pumps with superior models. Bishop said that right now, the station sports one 60-horsepower and two 10-horsepower pumps; upgrades will leave the lift station with one 70-horsepower and two 15-horsepower pumps.

"That's a significant upgrade," Bishop said. "It's a fairly involved project. If there's any future development in that area, we'll be able to handle the capacity. It's a project that's overdue, and we're tickled to death to have it."

Bishop said the city still will need to purchase a new generator at a cost of $30,000 to $45,000. Such an investment would allow the station to operate even in the event of a city-wide power outage.

The project complements leaders' recent efforts to build on business opportunities in the area. Still under construction is a $1.3 million Taco Bell that is expected to create between 18 and 30 full- and part-time  jobs. Mayor Guy Alongi also said previously that the city is working to bring a grocery store to the Southtowne Shopping Center.

Earlier this year, the city also passed a resolution to use business district funds to help China Buffet, also located at the shopping center, purchase a restaurant waste disposal system that will keep grease and other food waste from entering the city's water and sewer system. The cost was estimated at about $7,500, and the goal works hand in hand with upgrading the nearby lift station.

Jeffrey Ashauer, the city's economic development consultant, previously told the Call that changes in the neighborhood, including the arrival of Taco Bell, make addressing the use of the area's water and sewer lines increasingly important.

"We're strangling a problem before it becomes a serious problem,"  Ashauer said. "Left unchecked, this city would have a huge problem."