Andrews to pursue grant for McKeever storm water project

The Andrews Town Council is pursuing a grant that will help it fund a storm water infrastructure project on a high-traffic street in town that is regularly beset with drainage issues.

The board held a public hearing during its meeting on Monday, Nov. 27, regarding the grant it is seeking, which is through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ community development block grants storm water program. Council has its eye on a grant totaling $600,000, which it would use on McKeever Street.

Matt Brinkman, grant administrator with Region 3A Development and Regional Planning Commission, informed the board that he would submit a grant proposal to OCRA by its deadline on Friday, Dec. 1. Brinkman detailed the grant obtainment process for both council and the meeting’s attendees before turning the floor over to Paul Vincent, of engineering firm RQAW, who gave the board a preliminary look at the McKeever Street project.

Before the town applies for the grant on Feb. 9, council and Brinkman discussed the necessity of conducting an income survey and soliciting letters of support for the project. Having conducted an income survey as recently as 2015, the board was hoping that that survey would be sufficient for OCRA. Brinkman, however, informed council that the inclusion of Norwood Estates and Yake Subdivision in that survey made it unusable, as OCRA is only interested in data from within the town limits.

Council President Bill Johnson estimated that the new survey would be mailed out to residents in either December or January. The cost, Brinkman said, would be approximately $2,500. As was the case with the previous survey, responses are strictly confidential, with the town only receiving a summary of the results.

As for the letters of support, residents affected by water accumulation during storms are encouraged to share their stories with OCRA, thereby illustrating the necessity for storm water infrastructure projects in town. Letters can be emailed to Region 3A at region3a@region3a.org. The submission deadline is Feb. 2.

If the town receives the grant, council emphasized to Brinkman and Vincent the importance of completing the storm water project before planned paving work on McKeever Street.

“The town has been awarded money to do some paving and repairs on the same section of McKeever Street we’re looking at implementing the storm water project in,” explained Johnson. “Our desire is to make sure that the storm water project is done before we pave, because we’re not going to pave a street and then tear it up.

“We’re going to have to synchronize those two events so that the storm water gets built first.”

In other business:

Council voted to write off four of five outstanding water and sewer balances presented to it by Clerk-Treasurer Laura Dillon. The board declined to write off one property’s balance of $1,000, though. Instead, council resolved to explore its options for collecting some or all of that money. Johnson noted that a check would be performed to see if the town had placed a lien on that property.

The board worked out an arrangement with Rob Knorr, who conducts weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in town, over use of the Andrews Municipal Building as the host site for the meetings. Knorr had been holding the meetings in the town’s community building, located behind the municipal building, but was forced to find a new location due to that facility’s deterioration.

Council voted to approve a new, one-year contract with Huntington County Economic Development for $3,000.

The board unanimously passed Ordinance 2017-13, the 2018 salary ordinance.