Government, Preston County

Independence water project progresses in Preston County

NEWBURG – All but two rights-of-way signatures have been obtained for the Independence water project, according to Newburg Mayor Edgar Fortney.

Fortney told council Tuesday that he sent a copy of the agreement to one of those individuals by certified mail but has not received a reply. He said Morgan Coast, an engineer with Vaughn Coast & Vaughn Inc., said he believed he could work around the two properties if signatures could not be obtained.

City attorney Sheila Williams said the town has done all it can do, Fortney said. “I have eight of the 10 rights of ways we need. I took them to Sheila so she can have them recorded.”

He said the next step involves setting up an bank account. “We need to open an account to deposit the AML (Abandoned Mine Land) money in,” he said.

“That has to be done before anything else. Once this is done hopefully we can get something started.” Fortney said no date has been set for work to begin.

The project will extend the water line as far as the former Independence School and provide water to about 22 homes. This is less than half the 70 customers who requested service. Newburg has worked toward providing water to the neighboring unincorporated community of Independence since 2008.

At an earlier meeting Sheena Hunt, executive director of the Region VI Planning and Development Council, said she and Coast tried to work out which way would be the best way to go with the water line. Hunt said Coast decided Market Street would be the shortest distance.

“The town will only pick up two customers that won’t be covered by the AML funds,” she said.

The original plans would have taken the line up Scotch Hill Road.

The next meeting of the Newburg Water Board will be 6 p.m. Oct. 8, followed by the town council meeting.