Block grant application to focus on water main replacement
PINE PLAINS — It’s water works all the way for the Town Board in Pine Plains. After much discussion and a public hearing, the board decided to take the route that’s proven most successful in the past, and apply for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the county in the maximum amount of $150,000. The subject of the application is a water line improvement on East Church Street.“We decided on it just because of the strength of the project because of the scoring and ranking that we would go for,” said town Supervisor Gregg Pulver. “We’ve tried several different times to get block grants for other projects, from sidewalks to a bath house at the beach, but the water lines always seem to get funded. It’s not like the other things don’t need work, but [water projects] are just a good fit, and we always try to find other things to do but [approval] of block grant applications rely on rankings and all our research and past experience show that water lines get funded.”Soon, if the East Church Street project is approved, Pine Plains will be sporting new water lines throughout. There’s a new water main from Academy Street to the end of Factory Lane — thanks to a previous block grant. And there’s also work being done to update the end of a town line Pulver said he thinks could be so old it’s galvanized.“I don’t want to guess the size in there,” he said, explaining the old lines were much larger as well as made of galvanized metal. “That’s next to be replaced. We have done an outstanding job replacing the infrastructure in town and this is the next logical step. Through all of this work we’ve never had a rate increase.”The town started making major improvements to its infrastructure in the early 1990s. During that time the town took over the water company, transitioning its ownership from private to public hands. The switch was a wise one, according to the supervisor.“In the 12 years I’ve been supervisor we’ve consistently upgraded new water mains and expanded the district not just for service, for fire protection, too,” Pulver said. “We had the system rated for fire protection so people can save money on their homeowner’s insurance, and it’s all been done without ever increasing water rates.”The Pine Plains Water Improvement Area No. One starts at the intersection of routes 83 and 82 on North Main Street and goes to the middle of the Evergreen Cemetery, and then it picks up from Factory Lane down to Farview Avenue. There are roughly 350 connections in the water district. Grants are key in making improvements and keeping the system up to date, according to Pulver.“I don’t know how any small town, water company or public service could do this without a grant system,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate and very lucky that we’ve been able to do a lot of these improvements with grant money. We’ve also reinvested our water income into improvements, so it’s not all coming from grants.”Pulver said the town has a “very ambitious” cycle to accomplish its goals. One key aim is to replace all of the water lines in the district. The biggest challenge will come when the town attempts to replace the water main on South Main Street, from the traffic light down to Myrtle Avenue.“That’s going to be costly,” Pulver said, “because it’s in the New York State Department of Transportation’s [DOT] right of way, and they have standards that must be met. Then of course we still have some work to do on West Church Street and East Church. But we’re saving money and planning on doing all of these projects without increasing our rates.”The time frame the town is shooting for is to complete the work within five to 10 years, and ideally it will be completed before any more repaving projects are undertaken by the DOT.