CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Jim Justice on Friday, Feb. 2, released more than $12 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds dedicated to infrastructure projects throughout the state. Gov. Justice also announced that for the first time ever, CDBG funds are being dedicated to broadband planning and infrastructure projects.
Gov. Justice said, “My administration is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all West Virginians. The funds I am releasing today are going to bring valuable infrastructure projects to more than 30 of our counties. In addition to water and sewer projects that is common with this program, I am thrilled to be the first to announce that we are dedicating CDBG funds to broadband development in 27 of our most rural counties. If West Virginia expects to be competitive with the rest of the world, we must have high speed internet connectivity, and this is going to help see this through.”
The 2017 program year CDBG projects consist of nine water and sewer infrastructure projects that will serve more than 8,400 citizens of whom approximately 5,300 are be low- and moderate-income individuals, representing a 63 percent benefit. The $10.6 million dedicated to these projects, leveraged with more than $19 million in other federal, state, and local funds will result in new public water and sewer infrastructure for approximately 4,100 households.
More than $1.5 million is being dedicated to 12 planning and infrastructure broadband projects. These projects will provide the blueprints and infrastructure for high speed internet connectivity to more than 300,000 homes and more than 700,000 residents.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides Community Development Block Grant funds to the state. The Community Development Division of the West Virginia Development Office manages these funds.
2017 Program Year CDBG Water-Sewer Development Recipients
Town of Davis (Tucker County), $800,000
This award will complete the total CDBG commitment of $1,000,000 toward completing the project. The project enables the Town to complete a comprehensive upgrade of its municipal water system. It replaces various aged and deteriorated water lines within the existing distribution system, restores a water impoundment at Weimer Run, and provides improvements to the municipal water treatment plant originally built in 1968. The upgrades will improve service for 432 existing households of which 56% are of Low to Moderate income.
Town of Pax (Fayette County), $1,100,000
This award will complete the total CDBG commitment of $1,500,000 toward completing the project. The project enables the Town to upgrade its existing wastewater treatment plant and to extend public sewer service to 52 customers in the Willis Branch area. Residents have relied on failing septic systems, posing water quality issues. Improvements will upgrade the existing treatment facility to reduce environmental degradation due to inadequate operations.
Upshur County Commission, $1,216,566
This award will complete the total CDBG commitment of $1,500,000 toward completing the project. The project will make improvements to the Elkins Road PSD’s existing water distribution system and extend water service to 82 households. Includes upgrade of two water tanks, replacement of 14 deteriorated waterlines, addition of two booster stations, and emergency generators at four booster stations. Homes in the area are served by wells that produce poor water quality and limited quantity.
Town of Northfork (McDowell County), $1,300,000
This award will complete the total CDBG commitment of $1,500,000 toward completing the project. The project will provide upgraded water service to 112 current customers and 296 new customers to the McDowell PSD water system. The PSD will take over water service for the towns of Northfork and Keystone; and serve the areas of Upland, Powhatan, and Kyle.
Braxton County Commission, $800,000
This project will extend service and provide potable water to 39 new customers in the Holly and Otter districts. Will install 7.5 miles of waterline, 39 meters, and related components. Will also provide additional fire protection. All of the homes in the area have been impacted by past mining activities. Per the engineer and applicant, the design 100% complete and project is shovel ready.
Town of Matewan (Mingo County), $1,400,000
This project will provide service to 158 customers in the Upper Mate Creek community. Treatment will be provided by the Town’s existing wastewater treatment plant. It will replace the failing vacuum system previously operated by the now dissolved Red Jacket PSD. Many customers had to revert to old, failing septic systems or direct discharge. This cause sewage backup and ground water contamination.
Putnam County Commission, $1,500,000
This project will provide potable water to approximately 40 residences along Manila Ridge in Putnam County. This is Phase 2 of the project to extend water service to the Jackson County line with the construction of nearly 38,000 linear feet of new water lines. This project is already permitted by the State Health Department and is shovel ready to begin construction.
Town of Salem (Harrison County), $1,500,000
This project will replace the 350,000 gallon Nicholson water storage tank along with cast iron water lines, 25 water meters, and provide fire protection service. Will paint the existing 300,000-gallon Ford Street Water Tank. This work will benefit 690 households in the Town. Frequent line breaks have caused sever water contamination and water loss issues. A Sanitary Survey resulted in findings of Significant Deficiencies including unacceptable lead levels and that the Nicholson tank is near the end of its useful service life. The BPH has given the City deadlines for making required corrections to deficiencies.
Tyler County Commission, $1,066,000
This project will provide new water service to 43 households and impact service for Boreman Elementary School and the Tyler County 4-H Camp. The BPH reports the area suffers erratic water supply, including dry wells during summer months and wells with poor water quality. The engineer advises the preliminary design is complete. USDA has approved their funding in the project and the completed environmental report.
2017 Program Year CDBG Broadband Development Recipients
Clay County Commission (Lead Applicant), $125,000
This $125,000 project is to develop a broadband feasibility and business plan for Calhoun, Clay and Roane counties. This planning project promotes a regional approach to provide a roadmap to provide broadband throughout the three counties, whether it is middle mile, broadband to the home, fiber optics, wireless or white space.
Fayette County Commission, $30,000
This study will enable Fayette County officials to determine how and where to place last mile fiber to homes and businesses. The study will also allow telecommunication companies easier access to the many unserved and underserved areas of Fayette County. Tourism is one of the primary economic drivers in Fayette County and the lack of quality, affordable broadband access is a hindrance for local businesses and residents and attracting new potential new businesses and tourists.
Gilmer County Commission, $50,000
This plan will enable the Gilmer County Commission to pursue a broadband internet network and will also serve as a blueprint to pursue additional federal grants for telecommunication improvements not currently available. An increase in broadband connectivity will benefit county residents and businesses especially those at the Gilmer County Industrial park which recently received expansion funds but is still without adequate broadband access.
Hampshire County Commission, $402,795
This project will expand the county-owned backbone fiber to bring broadband into eastern Hampshire County and the Capon Bridge municipal area. A feasibility study showed that the eastern end of the county has significant small to mid-sized business potential because of its proximity to Washington D.C., and other Virginia metro areas. Building out a hybrid broadband network in this part of the county will make it more attractive to businesses and enhance internet connectivity to unserved and underserved areas.
Jackson County Commission, $125,000
The Jackson County Commission will use this grant to implement infrastructure improvements and equipment installation to serve the Sandyville area with broadband internet connectivity. One key factor for this initiative is public safety, as there is little to no cell connectivity in this area to serve residents, businesses, an elementary school and a senior center.
Mingo County Commission, $75,000
The Mingo County Commission is developing a strategic plan to bring broadband internet service to the Town of Gilbert. The project is viewed as critical to the development of the local economy, which is increasingly focused on tourism due to the development of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system.
Morgan County Commission, $75,000
This planning project will develop a plan to make affordable high-speed broadband internet service available on a countywide basis utilizing the county’s existing tower structures and radio buildings. The connectivity will allow residents and businesses to benefit from the many applicable uses that broadband affords.
Nicholas County Commission, $300,000
This project will provide broadband services to the residents of the Hinkle Mountain and Little Laurel areas of Nicholas County. This project will also serve as a Community Development Block Grant program pilot project as it coincides with a water extension project in the same area, potentially merging the construction and installation of water lines and broadband fiber lines.
Taylor County Commission (Lead Applicant), $125,000
The Taylor, Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia and Preston County Commissions have agreed to partner in a regional update of the area’s 2013 Broadband Strategic Plan – Assessment of Broadband Coverage report. The report will identify where broadband service is lacking, particularly in the unserved and underserved areas of these counties, prioritize where service is needed in each county and develop recommendations to improve access.
Tyler County Commission, $30,000
The Tyler County Commission has identified broadband internet service as the county’s top non-water and -sewer utility project. The growth of Tyler County and its potential for further success through educational and economic avenues is very dependent on broadband internet service. This broadband study will map the direction the county needs to take to achieve these goals.
Webster County Commission (Lead Applicant), $125,000
The Webster County Commission is the lead applicant in developing a regional plan to bring reliable and affordable broadband internet service to Webster, Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas and Pocahontas counties. The study will include an overall needs analysis to provide the most efficient and cost-effective broadband system to the citizens and businesses of these counties. This study is also being conducted in collaboration with the Regional Broadband Planning Project led by the Wyoming County Commission which would provide a roadmap for reliable and affordable broadband service in 11 southern West Virginia counties.
Wyoming County Commission (Lead Applicant), $125,000
The Wyoming County Commission is the lead applicant in developing a plan to bring reliable and affordable broadband internet service to McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties. The study will include an overall needs analysis to provide the most efficient and cost-effective broadband system to the citizens and businesses of these counties. This study is also being conducted in collaboration with the Broadband Initiative for Southern West Virginia led by the Webster County Commission which would provide a roadmap for reliable and affordable broadband service in 11 southern West Virginia counties.