South Pittsburg: Grants could aid CB&I connection, water plant upgrades

South Pittsburg: Grants could aid CB&I connection, water plant upgrades

May 31st, 2009 by Ben Benton in News

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. - The Chicago Bridge & Iron property in New Hope, Tenn., is one of the beneficiaries of almost $700,000 in two grants that Gov. Phil Bredesen has recommended.

One will provide utilities for a proposed industry on the Tennessee River. The other will improve the town's 35-year-old water treatment plant.

"We foresee it as being a real asset to South Pittsburg, New Hope and the whole county," South Pittsburg City Administrator Tom Landers said.

Gov. Bredesen recommended the city get a $180,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant to provide "water, sewer and natural gas service to Chicago Bridge & Iron and its nuclear reactor vessel fabrication plant," the governor stated in a release.

"The project will benefit South Pittsburg through the creation of 250 jobs, with the potential for 100 more jobs in the future," according to the release.

Although the governor's endorsement doesn't guarantee the grant, city officials say they're pretty sure of getting it. They expect to know by fall.

The money will pay for half the cost, with local government picking up the rest.

The governor also recommended a $500,000 ARC grant as part of $3 million overall for water treatment plant improvements. The city is responsible for the remaining $2.5 million.

Mr. Landers said the $500,000 grant could improve the plant's efficiency.

Don Blansett, the city's utility manager, said upgrades will bring the water treatment plant up to current standards. He said it's a continual struggle to bring the circa-1975 plant into the modern era.

He said a strong infrastructure helps bring in industries and jobs the region needs.

"It's going to be quality jobs at quality pay," he said. "Any time you can get jobs these days, you need to do whatever you can do to get them. We're losing jobs, not getting any, and it's a trend we'd like to reverse."