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Midway Council tackles water, sewer issues
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Some parts of the old Liberty County Elementary School campus are being demolished in phase one of a two-part project that will eventually include meeting rooms, offices, a library, a garden and more. - photo by Photo by Jen Alexander McCall
The Midway City Council met last week with representatives from the Georgia Rural Water Association and the city’s wastewater treatment plant operator to plan improvements and extensions of Midway utilities.
The council discussed the possibility of USDA grants or loans to fund water and sewer work, as well as money that might be available through the federal economic stimulus program. They also considered changing fees charged to water and sewer customers. The state requires a water conservation fee plan that makes water more costly per unit as more is used.
William Powell, of the water association, told the council Midway has not updated its utility rate structure in six years. He presented a packet of possible fees and a new draft ordinance. “This is your homework,” he said, asking council members to review the packet.
In another water/sewer matter, the council heard from Maxey Jones of the Freedman Grove community. She and several other residents oppose a planned commercial development at the intersection of U.S. Highway 17 and Freedman Grove Road. “If this development comes in, we feel the community will no longer be the one we love,” she said.
The proposed site is about four miles from Midway. John Settles, who represents the landowner, said the property had been rezoned for development. “At the time the commissioners approved our zoning, they asked us to work with Midway on water and sewer,” he said.
Midway serves a number of water/sewer customers outside its city limits. Jones, who said she was concerned about traffic, crime and the loss of “the serenity of this unincorporated area of the county,” does not think Midway should provide service to the development.
Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington suggested the opposing groups plan more meetings and try to resolve their differences. “We want you take care of business,” she told Jones and Settles.
Washington said Midway City Hall will remain in the former Liberty County Elementary School even though the county is razing some old buildings on the campus.
County Administrator Joey Brown said the commissioners divided the school site project into two phases. “The first,” he said, “is demolition of several buildings, removal of septic tanks and connection to Midway’s sewer system.” Bricks from the first original building will be used in phase two. The demolition, by Site Work Construction Co., should be finished in 60 days, Brown said.
Phase two will involve renovating the remaining buildings: the administration/lunchroom, the wing directly behind it and another wing to the north.
The campus will eventually include meeting rooms, kitchen, an online kiosk for county customers, administrative offices, a library, a garden and more.
The commissioners are waiting for SPLOST funds before starting phase two, which will include a swimming pool and playground.
“We will explore a grant to also install a walking trail out back near the old practice field,” Brown said.
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