The state has awarded Monterey with a $475,000 Community Development Block Grant.
Grant writer Dawn Kupferer said that funding will be used for sewer system improvements.
“Projects like this can be real economic drivers. A lot of times these are not projects that the citizens recognize as helping build business, but they are,” Kupferer said. “Once Monterey is able to add more sewer hookups to their community they will be able to invite more businesses in.”
“The town of Monterey is dedicated to working with the state to improve our town’s infrastructure, which will clear a path for our overall goal of sustainable economic growth,” Mayor Bill Wiggins said. “Monterey has a lot of momentum, and a lot of good things happening right now, so we’re really happy to continue this process with CDBG funding. Monterey’s motto is ‘Where the Hilltops Kiss the Sky.’ The sky really is the limit for Monterey right now.”
Monterey has applied for the CDBG for the past four years, but the state has not funded the grant. Kupferer said this year the state took Monterey’s self-imposed sewer moratorium into consideration.
“The last few years they had not taken into consideration if there was moratorium on sewer hookups, but this year they did,” Kupferer said. “Once you add in the moratorium and gets points for that, they were able to score higher.”
The CDBG is also a very competitive grant, with over 170 grant applications turned in this year. The state only awarded 70 grants to communities across the state.
“Because Monterey is in Putnam County and Cookeville is a strong economic driver, the numbers like unemployment and cost-of-living have always hurt Monterey,” Kupferer said.
Kupferer said the sewer rehab work will involve three main areas that have not seen any repairs since the sewer lines were originally put in.
“Some of these areas are from the 30’s and 40’s and some of them are even clay,” Kupferer said. “The biggest issue is that these old lines have cracks in them and when it rains the water goes into the sewer lines and into the sewer system.”
Kupferer said the infiltration has forced the plant to work overtime to make sure the water is clean.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development will now enter into a contract with the town of Monterey and begin environmental reviews on the projects in the coming months.
Construction will likely begin sometime in February or March.