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Roads, sewer projects submitted

The City of Bainbridge submitted 10 water and sewer projects, and Decatur County officials say they have submitted four road projects and three building projects as their piece of the pie for the federal stimulus plan signed by President Obama Tuesday.

President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus plan, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, into law Tuesday in Denver. It will be the biggest influx of federal dollars into state and local governments since the days of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs during the early 1960s. However, how the money will be distributed and if any of it will in fact reach Decatur County is still up in the air.

“I’m there with my hand out,” said Decatur County Administrator Tom Patton at a recent Chamber of Commerce board meeting.

Patton said the four road projects are a new road into the County Industrial Park, resurfacing John Sam and Whigham Dairy roads and building a new bridge over Big Slough on Vada Highway, which is located 3.2 miles northeast of Bainbridge.

Patton said he also would use any federal stimulus funds to build new County Extension offices at the fairgrounds on Vada Road, addition and expansion of the visitors room at the Decatur County Correctional Institute, and restoration of the historic World War II hangar at the county airport.

His estimated costs for the county projects are $3.2 million.

Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby said his wish list totals $19.7 million.

They include the following: Phase 2 of the Butler Ferry Road street, drainage, water and sewer project; storm drainage pump system to eliminate neighborhood flooding in the Ponderosa Lane area; West Street neighborhood storm drainage improvements; Hill Crest Drive neighborhood sewer extension; Turtle Pond Road neighborhood sewer extension; Spring Creek Road well and elevated tank for southwest corner of Bainbridge; Highway 97 North well and elevated tank for northern part of Bainbridge; water connectivity perimeter loop of a 12-inch water main around the city; Phase 3 of the city’s sewer master plan; and sewer extension for the Rivervale Subdivision.

Both Hobby and Patton said all the projects—with the exception of the World War II hangar—are eligible for last year’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funding approved by voters last year.

“However, we do these projects only as funding is available, so we always knew that every project would not be completed,” Hobby said in an e-mail to The Post-Searchlight. “We have committed to the sewer master plan projects through our loan agreement with GEFA (Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority), so these projects will take priority.”

Patton and Hobby said they submitted their wish lists to appropriate state agencies. For example, the county’s road projects were forwarded to the state Department of Transportation Board Member Johnny Floyd.