Industrial Park Receives Substantial ARP Funding
Wed, 09/01/2021 - 12:07pm admin
At the August 17th Pennington County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board engaged in discussion to consider points of distribution for a large amount of unallocated funds made available by the American Rescue Plan.
Commissioner Travis Lasseter called on the president of the Wall Economic Development Corporation, Mary Williams, to revisit the some infrastructural needs regarding the industrial park project which is underway in Wall. The plans, and a request for assistance were presented to the board during the previous June 1st meeting.
Williams explained that the City of Wall had already committed to covering infrastructure costs estimated at $926,000 in order to move the project forward, but in light of the pending distribution of ARP funds had briefly slowed the push to see if any of these funds could be allocated to assist Wall in paying for the industrial park’s waste water system.
The proposed pathway that the waste water system would take from the industrial park to the existing system traverses through a portion of Pennington County land that sits between the site, and 1st Avenue near Creighton Road.
Travis Lasseter stated that he believed this was a good time to make the decision, because the project is ready, and delaying a decision may put Wall in a less advantageous position in the “power curve” of the planning and work process.
Commissioner Rossknect moved to allocate the estimated construction costs of the wastewater system in the amount of $661,900, and was seconded by Commissioner Hadcock. This motion was approved by unanimous vote.
During the August 23rd Wall City Council meeting, Williams brought the news to the council, which was received by an affirmative vote to accept the funds, and entrust WEDC to dispense the funds exclusively for its intended purposes.
What this means is substantial relief on the above mentioned $926,000 expense, which was going to come from City funds, bolstering funds for other portions of the project.
While it seems as though the a large portion of the credit for chasing down this much needed relief would be due to Mary Williams and the WEDC, when Mary spoke to the Courant about how it transpired, she was quick to point out that there were other people who have been working hard to make this project come to reality, saying “This, for me, was a case of being in the right place at the right time.” After reviewing the video of the BOC meetings from June 1st and August 23rd, this statement can objectively be called modest, as the preparation and presentation were not lacking substance, or articulate delivery.
According to Williams, this event was just a part of a project much longer, and broader in scope, which has been championed by Mayor Marty Huether, who has put “a great deal of work” into its planning. Commissioner Lasseter has also taken a notable interest in making sure that smaller communities in Pennington County are being taken into consideration.
The method of approaching the project was crafted out of concern for the peripheral, yet equally critical issue of housing potential owners and workers of businesses which would move into lots at the industrial park (as well as expanded commerce in Wall generally), which the Echo Valley subdivision is expected to address.
The two projects which are synergistic with one another, have been determined to be mutually necessary in order to successfully propagate. This has been discussed at length as a “chicken and egg” scenario, where both issues at hand must be addressed simultaneously. The general inference has been that workers and owners of prospective businesses need a place to live, but wouldn’t be likely to move in if a proper locale for operations weren’t firmly in place before making decisions.
This isn’t the only injection of funds from the Penn Co BOC that directly benefits the people of this region though.
In addition to the almost $663k that was allocated for the Wall Industrial Park, the BOC also decided to direct the State’s Attorney to draft agreements with volunteer fire departments to construct new fire stations in Wasta, Quinn, and Scenic, and bolster the Creighton Radio Project, to the collective tune of $1,837,000; bringing the total of the funds being pipelined into fiscal relief efforts for small towns in eastern Pennington County to nearly 2.5 million dollars.