Greene County receives $2.5 million for four projects

November 22, 2013

A $2.5 million grant from the state’s PennWorks program was awarded Thursday to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority to help fund a project to expand a water line through Waynesburg and extend public water service to Nineveh in Morris Township.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority also approved a $100,214 grant to help the county renovate the Mon View Park swimming pool; a $31,068 grant for the county’s airport business park; and a $54,000 grant for a Whiteley Creek stream bank stabilization project.

“Greene County is seeing steady economic growth and this grant will help make sure the infrastructure is in place to keep the momentum going,” said state Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, who with state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, announced the grant awards.

Southwestern’s project is aimed at increasing the volume of water the authority can provide to western Greene County.

The project would involve constructing a 24-inch line from an area near the Greene County airport to West Waynesburg, a 16-inch line on Route 18 from West Waynesburg to Nineveh and a 12-inch line along Tripp Hill Road.

Coal and natural gas companies operating in western Greene County that need additional water for their operations have expressed interest in the project and have indicated they would contribute money to help fund it.

The project’s estimated cost is $18 million. The authority originally applied for a $5 million grant and a $5 million low-interest loan from PennWorks, which are the maximums awarded through the program.

“All along, the authority has been looking to partner with the gas and coal companies to get water to this area,” said Randy Krause of Bankson Engineers, authority engineer. “Now that we have an offer, we’ll have to sit down with these industries to see what they’re willing to contribute.”

The authority may have to consider other options for financing the project, including seeking additional grants or loans, before it determines what it can do, he said.

The Morris Township supervisors have been pushing for a water line to the Nineveh area.

“The supervisors strongly support a way to get public water service to Nineveh. Water quality is very poor in this area,” said Judy Moninger, township secretary. “The supervisors feel establishing public water in the Nineveh area is important to the long-term sustainability of the township,” she said.

The money is being awarded through the state’s Water Supply and Wastewater Infrastructure Program, PennWorks, put in place by the legislature to improve Pennsylvania’s water and sewer systems, protect the environment, and create jobs.

The Greene County Airport’s Business Park Project will receive a grant of $31,068 through the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Greene County officials were also awarded a $100,214 grant to help pay for the restoration of the Mon View Park swimming pool.

The county is picking up the rest of the cost, estimated to be more than a half-million dollars. The state money is being awarded through a Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program Fund, created through Act 13 of 2012.

“Greene County is investing in future generations by restoring community assets and using the economic power of Act 13 to do it,” said Snyder, a former Greene County commissioner. “These grants will serve to expand our infrastructure, which strengthens our communities.”

Act 13 will also be the source of a $54,000 grant awarded to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for its Whitely Creek Streambank Stabilization Project. The project is expected to improve water quality in the area and create a fish habitat that will benefit local sportsmen while attracting tourists.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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