Water looks promising to housing development

Published 11:16 pm Sunday, December 1, 2019

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Columbus comes to a consensus to run water line to White Drive

COLUMBUS—A low-income housing development planned for Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry property will most likely get help from the Town of Columbus on running a water line. 

Columbus Town Council met last week and heard from Outreach Executive Director George Alley. Council came to a consensus to run the line for Outreach contingent on the Columbus Planning Board approving a special use permit on Dec. 3. 

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The town received an estimate on running a 6-inch water line to the proposed development from Houston Road. The estimate from Steppe Construction was $114,450, not including possible creek crossing. 

Town officials discussed the need for 3-5 fire hydrants. Alley said he has a quote from Odom Engineering for the engineering of the project, which is $12,500. 

Council members asked about possible grants or funding for the project. 

Town manager Tim Barth said he does not think there will be much funding available for a project such as this. He suggested financing the project over a 3-4 year period. 

“We need to do this,” said councilman Robert Williamson. “This is needed in the town.” 

Barth said the town would also have to widen, put in curb and gutter and install sidewalks. 

Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said he agrees with Williamson that this is sorely needed. 

Outreach is proposing to work with the Polk County High School Construction team to construct 9 houses as well as have a daycare and foster home built on the property. The houses will be owned by Outreach and be used for residential placement for clients who need temporary housing assistance. 

Alley told council that one house has already been built and is sitting at the high school and another should be finished in the spring with plans to finish them in the summer. 

Alley said Outreach has a grant, so has the money for the houses and also needs a special use permit from the Columbus Planning Board and can then get the engineering done. Alley said the houses will not need to be hooked up to water until next September. 

Alley agreed to let Barth know about the engineering timeline. 

Williamson said the town has $900,000 in its enterprise fund, so the town has the money to do the water line project. Alley said Outreach is paying for the engineering.