CUMBERLAND – As motorists can see while traveling along the stretch of highway from Cumberland's village to the Hillcrest and Community Center area, the County's waterline extension project is in full acceleration along Route 60.
The waterline expansion project successfully closed on June 19, according to Greg Baka, director of community and economic development for Cumberland, and Lyttle Utilities, Inc., of Richmond, began working the next day. Lyttle Utilities is the contractor for the project.
“The County went to closing on June 19 with USDA to secure the grant and loan financing and, then, on Wednesday, June 20 they started construction,” he said about the project that's proceeding on schedule.
Travelers along Route 60 will be dealing with side-of-the-road construction and lane closures until approximately the end of the year but the schedule is progressing quickly and could be completed sooner than predicted.
“The project schedule calls for us to be done before the end of the year,” he said. “However, I'd say that we are proceeding ahead of schedule.”
The waterline is being installed on the north side of Route 60. However, at a future date residential properties will need to make their own connections to the waterline, according to Baka.
“By managing a project of this size we are able to provide a real asset to our community,” he noted about the County's opportunity to receive a return on its investment and provide public water to County residents along Route 60.
Fleming Road is also part of the waterline extension project, he added.
The road was originally just a possibility but due to staff diligence the road was able to be included just before closing.
“The County was very fortunate to include a waterline loop along Fleming Road back into the project recently,” explained Baka. “With the loop on Fleming Road, we're able to pick up a number of additional residential users.”
Baka then gave credit to Cumberland's staff that he worked with on the waterline project.
“They did an amazing job getting all the necessary user agreements signed on Fleming Road in a very short period of time,” he said. “And we were able to include Fleming Road in the project before the closing deadline. They pulled a rabbit out of a hat. They did a great job!”
The waterline will specifically end at what was previously called the County Fairgrounds, or the open, grassy property near the Community Center, Baka said.
With the waterline extension, the Community Center will now have access to better quality water, he added.
“Number one, the Community Center has poor water quality issues,” he said. “They have bottled water brought in there, I believe. So, number one, this waterline will help alleviate the poor water issues at the Community Center. But, secondly, with public water available at the Community Center it could be very attractive for economic development uses or new occupants.”
The work on the south side of Route 60 is going to be “basic,” according to Baka.
“You drill and you put a meter box at each home receiving public water,” he said about construction. “Each home will receive a meter box.”
To clarify, Baka said, it's the County's responsibility to put in the water main and the meter box but the individual connections are up to each resident.
“It's their responsibility to pay for the actual connection and to secure the funding for that,” he continued. “The County was very fortunate in that we secured a grant through Southeast Rural Cap (Southeast R-Cap) to provide individual water connections to low and moderate income residents and then, if there is additional funds remaining, to other residents too.”
According to Baka, Cumberland is “grateful” for that money that will be utilized to assist those that qualify.
The waterline construction starts at the Marathon gas station on Route 60 and goes west about 1.9 miles to the Community Center or the old County Fairgrounds.
That's the beginning and the future includes Cumberland, due to significant cost-savings, Baka said, currently exploring options to extend the waterline east of it's current termination at Carden's Nursery.
“Currently, we're looking at options to extend that waterline east to assist with further growth…,” Baka said about the waterline portion that already services the village and courthouse area.
Baka briefed the Board of Supervisors earlier this summer about the relocation of True Value Hardware. True Value has located to its new site across from the courthouse in the village area on Route 60. The store is now open at its new location and the former building is vacant, he said at that time.
Amelia Auto Sales, Inc. also plans to open a used automobile store in Cumberland at the old Trading Post next to Carden's, he offered. This will be the company's third store.
Related to the ABC store slated for Cumberland, Baka noted that the Virginia Department of ABC “has authorized the issuance of a lease for an ABC store here in the county.”
The ABC has selected Randall Daves' property, which is the vacant site behind the Dixie Dream for its new store.
Concerning the Cobbs Creek Reservoir Project now being spearheaded by Henrico County, Baka detailed in July that Cumberland has reviewed all of the proposed acquisition area plats for the individual affected properties as drafted by Henrico's public utilities.
“All of the affected properties are now awaiting offers from Henrico for the actual acquisition of their property,” he reported. “Staff also met with the engineers to discuss the utility relocation issues and how to safely and effectively remove many acres of trees from the site.”