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Jefferson area one step closer to clean water

For years residents of Jefferson have had a hard time getting clean drinking water. Soon, their troubles may be over if the Marengo County Commission is able to put the finishing touches on a program to bring in a fresh source.

Recently, the project came one step closer as the county was approved for a CDBG grant that would help them bring in fresh water from other sources including the water supply at Myrtlewood.

Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead made the announcement at Tuesday’s meeting that the grant was available and the wheels were starting to roll.

“We have a grant here for the water project in the county road 19 area in Jefferson and County Road 21,” Armstead said. “We have been trying to do this for a long period of time and I think everyone will be very happy.”

Residents of the area have been waiting for more than 20 years for a solution and Armstead said the commission sympathized with them for that. He said this would be the first step in correcting the problems.

“This thing has been ongoing for some time,” Armstead said. “This is a start to make sure we can get these citizens some clean water.”

The project has been a part of a widespread effort. Commissioner Max Joiner said he would like to thank those who have chipped in to help.

“I want to commend the people that are working with us and behind us on this,” Joiner said. “It just shows us how easy things can get done when people work together. I think the important thing is that we are all trying to work together to do something positive for that area that has been in need of this for the last 25 years. I hope that the effort we all make is going to come to fruition.”

One of the key participants in making the project possible has been Kevin McKinney. Joiner said he appreciated what McKinney and the town of Myrtlewood have done to make the possibility of this project run.

“We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your town down there and the efforts they are making to our program. It is not common that this happens and I think you are to be commended for that.”

Once the project has been completed it will serve as many as 300 to 400 people. To date, it is the largest section of Marengo County that is unserved. Though the grant does not necessarily mean the project is going to be completed it does make it extremely likely. Commissioner Ken Tucker asked citizens to be patient and the commission would do anything they could to get started.

“This truly has been a project we have all been trying to get done from the beginning,” Tucker said. “We have encountered many obstacles. We are doing everything we can to make it happen.”

Armstead made it clear that it was the commission’s full intention to get started.

“We are committed,” Armstead said. “Whatever resources it will take to get this done, we will get it done.”