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City welcomes grant
0930 springfield grant
Springfield City Manager Brett Bennett, far left, presents the check from the community development block grant to Springfield City Council members Charles Hinely, Kenny Usher, Gary Weitman, Jeff Ambrose and Troy Allen. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The long-awaited grant is in the city of Springfield’s hands.

City Manager Brett Bennett presented the community development block grant check for $359,605 to city council members Tuesday night. The grant money will go toward sanitary sewer improvements.

“We should be moving forward here soon,” Bennett said.

The system also still has to be designed. Once it’s designed and put in place, nearly 20 homes in an lower-
income area along Railroad Avenue  and Tunnel Road will be taken off septic tanks and placed on a sanitary sewer line.

Designing the system could take a while, Bennett said.

“Within a few months, we ought to see some progress,” he said.

Council members were happy to get the grant check hand. The city was notified last month it was receiving the grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“We know it’s going to happen now,” said council member Kenny Usher. “That’s the main thing.”

A public hearing on the grant will be held Oct. 7 at 11 a.m. at Springfield City Hall. The city had applied for a similar grant in March 2010 but was turned down, receiving its rejection notice six months later. The city sought a grant in excess of $450,000 last year, which would have included a local match of $25,000 to cover the tap-in fees.

Residents of the neighborhood have complained about the costs of upkeep with their septic systems and the problems they had with their septic tanks. The tanks were having to be pumped out several times a year, at a cost of about $225 each time, and the tanks also filled with rainwater during heavy rains.

Residents also have told council members that they would have to do their bathing and laundry before the rain starts.

There also were complaints of sewage backup in the septic systems, slow drainage and toilets that would not flush.