Ligonier receives $650,000 for waterworks improvement project
By Kelly Lynch for The News Sun | KPC News
On its third attempt, the city of Ligonier was awarded a $650,000 grant from the state of Indiana to help fund improvements to its water distribution system.
The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced Thursday afternoon Ligonier was a funding recipient as part of the second round of this year’s federal Community Development Block Grant Program.
After past applications fell through because of lack of public support and a paperwork oversight, Mayor Patty Fisel was elated to receive a text from Clerk-Treasurer Barb Hawn, telling her of the good news.
“Oh my word. It’s just the most wonderful news I’ve heard in a very long time,” Fisel said. “It’s an awesome Christmas gift.”
The city proposed $2 million water distribution system renovation project would include: an update to the roof of the water treatment plant; replacement and addition of water mains, hydrants and valves; updating system software; and improving the overall distribution network.
Parts of Ligonier’s water system are nearly 100 years old, and in recent years they’ve contributed to high levels of iron and rust in the city’s drinking water.
City officials previously have discussed the need for the project, with or without grant funding. Some considered this most recent grant application as the last shot for such assistance.
But in finally receiving the grant, Fisel believes the money will go a long way in making sure residents’ water rates don’t increase substantially to cover the cost of construction.
“Everybody worked so hard to get it. The reward for that is possibly going to be, if we have to do a rate increase, it’s not going to be as much as it would have been,” Fisel said. “I’m just hoping we don’t even have one.”
The excitement caused by the grant award spread quickly through City Hall, as Fisel was interrupted by Police Chief Bryan Shearer, who showed her OCRA’s list of recipients — with Ligonier in the center.
“That looks so awesome,” Fisel said enthusiastically.
More than $12 million in grant funding was awarded across six different programs: wastewater drinking water; stormwater improvement; Main Street revitalization; public facilities; workforce development; and blight clearance.
Thirteen communities received grants in the Wastewater Drinking Water Program, in which Ligonier tied for being awarded the second-highest amount.