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$5.6 million plan would add sewer
Decatur may extend service to 405 acres outside city

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com 340-2442

Four sewer projects under consideration in Decatur could entice development in areas ripe for growth just outside the city limits.

At a called meeting Thursday of the Decatur Utilities board, city planners and City Councilman Ronny Russell heard cost estimates to install sewer lines at areas on and near Beltline Road Southwest just north of the city limits.

The four priority projects as identified by city planners would, by rough estimates, cost $5.6 million and supply 405 acres.

The projects and cost and acreage estimates are:

  • Old Moulton Road east of Brookline Avenue to Beltline Road, $975,000, 57 acres.

  • From Beltline Road west on Alabama 24 about a mile, $2 million, 107 acres.

  • From McEntire Lane to Beltline Road, $975,000, 51 acres.

  • From Fifth Avenue Northwest following the railroad tracks to Beltline Road, $1.65 million, 190 acres.

    Russell said the council is considering a requirement that property owners be annexed into the city in order to tap into the sewer system.

    "It's not a set policy, but that's our growth strategy," Russell said.

    Hannah Pearson, a city planner, said the Planning Department chose the Beltline Road area based on commercial interests and the availability of vacant land.

    "One of the reasons they back out is because we don't have the infrastructure there," Pearson said. "These were fairly good retail opportunities, but they chose different areas because sewer wasn't there."

    Target, which is set to open at The Crossings of Decatur in October, was one of the retailers interested in the area, Pearson said. She declined to name other specific interests, saying they run the gamut of retail establishments.

    "We chose the area because we wanted commercial and retail business to increase the tax base for the city," Pearson said. "And we thought it could be done at the same time as the road widening, so it wouldn't be an inconvenience again."

    The state Department of Transportation has begun the first of three widening phases planned for Beltline Road between Alabama 20 and U.S. 31.

    Stan Keenum, interim general manager at DU, said the $5.6 million price was an estimate for gravity sewerage.

    Board member Hugh Hillhouse suggested studying the feasibility of adding pump systems in areas where gravity lines weren't possible.

    Keenum said he would speak with an engineering firm and possibly have an estimate combining gravity and pump systems within four to six weeks.

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