Construction of a $5.5 million expansion of Jonesborough’s wastewater treatment plant will get under way Monday and continue through next spring.
Representatives of USDA Rural Development, the Washington County Economic Development Council and Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge joined Jonesborough officials to ceremoniously break ground on the project Friday at the sewer plant located just off West Main Street at the end of Britt Drive.
Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe called it a big day in Jonesborough history as the first spades of dirt were turned to mark the start of construction of two new 500,000-gallon wastewater treatment basins. “This is going to triple our capacity for growth of our industrial park,” Wolfe said.
Robert Reynolds, CEO of the Washington County Economic Development Council, said wastewater infrastructure is critical to a community’s ability to recruit new industry. “When we’re talking to people about bringing development, sewer is always the first question. It all starts with sewer and sewer is what allows us to bring development and jobs to Jonesborough,” Reynolds said.
Eldridge said, “There’s no doubt, creating jobs is our number one priority. This is a key element. It will add employers and create investment.”
The project is being funded through about $2.2 million in grants from USDA Rural Development and about $1.5 million in Rural Development loans. The Appalachian Regional Commission also provided a $500,000 grant for the expansion.
“It’s an expensive project,” Wolfe said. “We really went after the grant funding and we are so fortunate to have been successful in reducing our costs by over $2 million.”
Joe Woody, area director for Rural Development said, “I’m glad to see it going in the ground.”
“We have another 40-year-old loan (to Jonesborough) that’s about to be paid off and I look forward to seeing this one paid off in about 40 more years,” Woody said.
Judy Construction will serve as senior project manager for the expansion. Construction is scheduled to begin Monday and projected to be complete in May of next year.