The City of Newberry held a ribbon cutting on Thursday for the expansion of its Water Reclamation Facility.
The $2.8-million expansion was designed by Jones Edmunds & Associates, Inc., and paid for by a $400,000 Community Budget Issue Request and a State Revolving Fund grant of $2.4 million. After an initial estimate in 2006 based on a forecast of increased growth, the plan was revised in 2008 to accommodate a smaller expansion and rehabilitation of existing facilities. The revised expansion saved the city $3.2 million, and will provide safe and reliable wastewater treatment and disposal service for a projected 20 years.
“We’re glad this was a successful project that will serve the needs of Newberry now and into the future in a cost-conserving manner for the projected growth in our area,” said Newberry Public Works Director Blaine Suggs.
Terri Lowery, vice president at Jones Edmunds, said that wastewater improvement is important for economic development, though people never think about it.
“People see roads,” she said. “but when was the last time you toured a wastewater facility?”
Most businesses want to move into a city with existing infrastructure , she said, but it becomes a chicken-and-egg situation when the people in charge have figure out how to get businesses to come without the infrastructure, but can’t pay for it without the business and tax base, which in this case was solved by the state grant process.
Newberry Mayor Bill Conrad said that having access to sewer, high water quality, cheap electricity and acres of rezonable land for a fraction of the price they went for six years ago helps to make the city more attractive, and the city is ready to move on to its next phase.
“If these technology incubators are looking to get out of Gainesville, then we’re ready to take them,” he said. “It’s a good time to come into a city with lots of space and bargain prices.”