The City of Plymouth will apply for an OCRA grant to assist with 2.5 million dollars in water infrastructure improvements. 

During Monday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting Utility Superintendent Donnie Davidson said while reviewing the 10-year Master Plan he saw the opportunity to group projects scheduled for 2024, 2025, and 2026 into one large project to be able to apply for approximately $700,000 in grant funding. 

The three projects Davidson presented to the board were a water main replacement on East Jefferson Street where the line is only 4 inches.  Davidson plans to increase the size to a 12-inch water main.   He said, “This will improve several things, fire protection along with circulation of the system which also includes water improvements and water quality.”

The second project scheduled for 2025 is a water main replacement project along Lake Avenue/State Road 17, with a bore under the railroad tracks and removal of the water main that was under the Yellow River, which now is showing in the river.

The final project, scheduled for 2026 is sandblasting the recoating the city’s water tower on PIDCO Drive.  Davidson told the Board of Public Works, “The cost of the project went up considerably.  Originally, they thought they could recoat it for approximately $370,000.  During the last inspection, they determined the town was going to need sandblasted and recoated on the inside and out with additional work necessary. The price jumped up to over $1 million.”

With an opportunity to group the three projects, the city could apply for and hopefully be awarded an OCRA Grant to assist in funding the projects.

Shannon McLeod from Priority Project Resource attended the meeting with Utility Superintendent Davidson and discussed the grant opportunity.  Asa federal grant writer and administrator they have worked with the city several times including the Stellar Projects for The REES Theatre and phase II of River Park Square. 

The timeline for the grant process is an initial proposal due in October and the full application due in December with awards being announced in January or February, bidding the projects in the spring and work to be substantially completed by the end of 2024.   There will be a couple of public hearings during the process. 

McLeod said it is a very competitive grant program.

Utility Superintendent Davidson said Baker Tilly the city’s financial consultant says the projects fit within the utility’s planned budget.  Davidson said the utility currently has $4.5 million in the Depreciation Fund.  While Baker Tilly said during the first 2-years the water utility would be at a negative cash flow, all three projects could be completed with the current rate schedule in place.       

The Plymouth Board of Public Works and Safety gave Davidson the nod to move forward with the OCRA grant application process.