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Sewer board withdraws EDA grant

The Harrison County Regional Sewer District board last week withdrew its grant application for the New Salisbury sanitary sewer project, at the recommendation of its grant writer, Jill Saegesser of River Hills Regional Planning and Development.
Saegesser informed the board that funding was no longer available in the category that the project qualified for, and it would be better to withdraw the Economic Development Agency grant application than have it officially denied.
‘I don’t like the whole process, but that’s bureaucracy at its finest,’ board president Tom Tucker said.
The grant was the final hurdle the board needed before construction could begin on the project, which was approved with a narrow vote by the business corridor property owners.
The project would bring a sanitary sewer system to the New Salisbury businesses by taking the flow to a recently acquired treatment plant at the Berkshire Pointe mobile home park east of New Salisbury.
The board believes, with confidence, that economic growth would follow soon after the sewer lines are laid in the unincorporated town.
The board agreed to withdraw the application, because Saegesser said it would be more difficult to succeed in the next grant cycle if it had previously been denied.
‘We are doing it reluctantly,’ Tucker said.
Now, the board must decide how best to move forward.
The application could be resubmitted for next year’s cycle.
Tucker said he hopes the EDA can find money for ‘a little old place in Harrison County’ when there’s other more costly projects all across the country.
‘I think we might want to talk to our partners about, if the project is still alive, and I think we all want it to be, what we can do between now and (the next grant cycle) to get it shovel ready,’ board member Darin Duncan said. ‘I would like to see us move forward because, even if we received the grant, we wouldn’t be ready to start.’
The board had cooperation from the county’s board of commissioners, council and economic development corporation, as well as support from Indiana Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill.
The board also submitted the plan to Hill’s office for potential funding.
At the board’s next meeting, April 21, at 8:30 a.m. at the Harrison County Community Foundation building in Corydon, it will discuss how to move forward with the project and what steps will need to be taken with the property owners. In November, a narrow 8-7 vote by the property owners approved the project, but it was contingent upon the receipt of the EDA grant.