Public water is coming to a section of Calhoun that has long presented a need.

Nearly 60 individuals have signed-up for the wide-reaching $4 million extension to be built from Arnoldsburg to the Upper West Fork Park (Rt. 16), and from the Millstone area to Sand Ridge, Sassafras Ridge and Russett.

Wilma Mace with the Mt. Zion PSD said she was encouraged by the first round of sign-ups held at the Arnoldsburg Community Building.

A sign-up meeting is scheduled today at the Upper West Fork Community Park at 6 p.m. Residents who want public water must make a $100 deposit, described as a tap fee.

Jim Hildreth of Boyles and Hildreth Engineers of Spencer, the project engineer, said he will be at Monday's meeting to answer questions.

"We're encouraged with the amount of interest so-far," he told the Herald.

Mace said the 21-mile project must have 183 customers before construction can move ahead, thats 80% of eligible customers along the route.

The water project includes about 110,000 linear feet of water line, a pumping station, two water storage tanks and other equipment.

Bringing public water to the area will allow potable drinking water, but will also provide water to an area that is devoid of an adequate supply.

The Calhoun Commission has been urging property owners to sign-up, with an adequate water supply increasing the value of property and encouraging further development in the area for the 21st century.

Failure to meet the minimum number of customers will slow the time frame for construction, but could also mean the funding could be shifted to other projects.

Mt. Zion PSD has a letter of conditions from the Rural Utilities Service for a $1.8 million grant and a $600,000 loan. An application for $1.5 million grant from the Small Cities Block Grant program was submitted in February, 2005, but that part of the funding will now be provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Because of rapidly increasing construction costs, mostly related to national disasters, engineers Boyles & Hildreth of Spencer was asked to review the cost estimate.

The construction cost is estimated to have increased by approximately $500,000, and the Rural Utilities Service will likely fund that additional amount.

Calhoun currently has two PSDs, Pleasant Hill and Mount Zion, both of which purchase water from the Grantsville municipal system.

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