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City to apply for OCRA grant

By KEVIN GREEN - kgreen@thecouriertimes.com

New Castle City Council members recently voted to move forward with an effort to secure funds from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) to update the city’s sewer treatment plant and address safety concerns that exist at the facility.

Mike Kleinpeter of Kleinpeter Consulting Group has been hired to spearhead an effort that involves applying to OCRA for a grant from the State Community Block Grant planning program to pay for an assortment of sewer treatment plant improvements.

If the grant is awarded, the city will contribute an additional $150,000 to the project from utility operating funds.

New Castle Mayor Greg York has stated the treatment plant has electric system problems, a host of maintenance-related issues and safety concerns that need to be addressed.

The mayor also has said the planned $750,000 project won’t address all of the concerns at the plant.

“We have about $2 million worth of repairs. We need to completely update our facility, but this is what the grant allows and this is a starting point for us,” York said at last week’s council meeting. “We have a lot that needs upgraded at the plant. It needs upgraded in a desperate way and this is just a starting point.”

Council member Aaron Dicken said he recently toured the treatment plant and agreed it is in need of modernization.

“The things that those guys do with what they have as far as resources is a testament to the knowledge and the experience that those guys have,” Dicken said.

Kleinpeter said applying for OCRA funding is a competitive process and that at last report 21 communities were vying for monies that will eventually be awarded to as few as 10 of them.

If New Castle’s request is denied during the upcoming round of funding, Kleinpeter said the city can resubmit its request and hope the funding is awarded during the next round.

An announcement regarding which projects OCRA has agreed to fund is expected April 5.

For additional information about this project, contact Kleinpeter at 812-525-7080 during normal business hours. 

York’s office can be reached at 765-529-7605.