UNION BRIDGE — An $87,690 grant from the state will end the water woes of 29 residents who live just north of here.
The money will help them switch from a 60-year-old private water system into the town supply.
Nearly 18 months ago, when the Bowman Springs owner announced hisintention to quit the water business, the residents turned to the town for help, and the town turned to the state for money.
The stateBoard of Public Works announced the grant Wednesday, enabling the town to extend its water line. The 1,800-feet of pipeline will be laid north along Main Street Extended, just above Elmer Wolfe Elementary School. From there, it will continue out Union Bridge Road and down Honeysuckle Lane.
In addition to the grant, the county will kick in $31,000 in a low-interest loan to cover the remainder of the nearly $119,000 estimated cost of the project. Each resident also must pay the town a $1,000 fee to hook into the line.
Residents said the grant is most welcome after more than a year of uncertainty about the source of their water.
"The grant has been a long time coming," said Pam Crawmer, a Union Bridge Road resident. "We were a little worried because we wanted the work to start before winter set in."
County planner Steven C. Horn, who helped the town write the grant application, said the timing of the grant couldn't be better.
"We have had the engineering for this project in the works for a long time," he said. "There won't be much delay in construction."
The state Department of the Environment also will provide technical assistance.
Before any work can begin, Bowman Springs homes must be annexed into town. Those proceedings will begin at the Aug. 26 town meeting.
"We are drawing up an agreement and will meet with the residents," said Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr.
"They all agree, and I don't anticipate anyproblems at all."
Jones also said the annexation should not causethe one-well town any water problems.
"Fortunately, we are water-rich," he said.
With annexation comes an additional bill for town taxes, which are 68 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The owner ofan average $134,000 home would pay $386 in town property taxes, in addition to $1,260 in county taxes.
Bidding for the job will open following annexation, Jones said.
"Many contractors are interested," he said. "Hopefully, we can start working before November."