Water grant addendum could benefit Fruithurst, Muscadine
March 6, 2018
By Bill Wilson
The Anniston Star

The Cleburne County Commission started its monthly work session Monday evening with a public hearing to talk about a grant addendum which could possibly pay for residents in the Fruithurst and Muscadine areas to hook up to the county’s water system.

That area has been identified as a location where radon is a concern in the ground water, according to E. Diane Glenn, a principal planner with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission.

Glenn said the planning commission is assisting the Cleburne County Commission with a community development block grant to extend water service for the Cleburne County Water Authority. Glenn said there’d be $50,000 left over from that project, and now the county has the opportunity to petition the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for an amendment to permit spending the rest of the money on additional water services.

Glenn said there are no guarantees — the proposal will be sent to ADECA — they will approve or disapprove. If not approved the money will be returned to the block grant program.

“At this point it is not the county’s money to spend, we must ask permission,” Glenn said.

If the addendum is approved, a county resident would receive up to 200 feet of pipe to service his or her residence from the water meter. If the distance exceeds 200 feet the homeowner must make a commitment to install the the rest of the piping, according to Glenn.

After the work session Commissioner Laura Cobb — whose district includes high radon areas — said she has been working with the water department for the last two weeks to determine who is on county water and who is on well water. Cobb is optimistic that the grant addendum will be approved.

“Anytime that, to me, that anybody looks at it and says it’s a health issue I feel good about it, but you never know,” Cobb said.

“My goal would be to get everybody off well water and have them on county water if they chose to do that,” Cobb said.

In a different item of business, county engineer Lee Estes said that work continues on the bridge which spans Roberts Creek on County Road 49.

Estes said most everything is done except for the asphalt and guardrails.

“We’re really just waiting on the weather,” Estes said. The contractor has 30 working days to complete the culvert bridge which is just south of County Road 35.

Estes said that County Road 232 — a dirt road that’s serving as an alternate route to County 49 traffic — has been temporarily closed because there is a weight-limited bridge on it.

“All the traffic from 49 started diverting down that dirt road and was hammering that little bridge that could not take it,” Estes said.

The road will reopen once the bridge on County Road 49 is complete. Estes said the authorized detour is along U.S. 78 to County Road 35.

Meanwhile, Estes said, his crews are busy regrading the county’s dirt roads, which sustained some erosion due to recent rain.

The commission’s next regular meeting will be next Monday at 5 p.m.