Reed City OKs sewer project

REED CITY — Construction will begin in May to upgrade water and sewer transmission lines beneath six streets in Reed City.

Streets to be redone include Church Street, from Chestnut Street to Patterson Street; Lincoln Ave., from Patterson to just west of Sears Street; Todd Street, from Tomahawk Ave. to Sears Street; Tomahawk Ave., from Lincoln to Sears Street; State Street, from Lincoln Street to Todd Avenue; and Sears Street, from Lincoln Street to Todd Ave.

Reed City council approved two low-interest loans for the project totalling $2,699,203 at the meeting on March 26. The USDA Rural Development program offered the City the loans with two percent interest and a $316,970 match from the City’s water and sewer enterprise funds.

The construction is expected to take around five months and workers will start on streets other than Church Street. Construction on Church street will not begin until school gets out in June. During the project, homeowners on the streets being worked on may be blocked from their driveway for certain periods of time.

“We ask all residents within the construction area to be cautious and patient,” said Reed City manager Ron Marek. “We will notify residents (who may be blocked in) and work with them.”

A sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration study was completed in 2008 and results showed that water and sewer lines in Reed City were too old and too small to function properly. Roots were damaging water lines and creating holes for sand, debris and storm water to run into the water lines. Some residents experienced sewer backups and pools of water in their yards due to the poor quality lines.

The city has been working since then to secure funding for new water and sewer lines, by hiring an attorney to do bond work for the USDA loans, accepting bid estimates from 15 contractors for the project, and hiring an engineer to design the final construction plan.

“We’ve been working on this project for three years and I’m glad we can get going on it,” said Susan Wyngaarden, attorney with Varnum Attorneys at law, who is working for the city on the project.

The city also voted to increase water and sewer rates to help fund the project. Water monthly base rates will increase from $5.40 to $6.31 and usage rates will increase from $1.92 to $2 per 1000 gallons. Sewer monthly base rates will increase from $2 to $3.46 and per-gallon usage rates will increase from $4.42 to $4.55 per 1000 gallons. The new rates were approved after a comparison study was completed of the rates from surrounding cities such as Cadillac, Big Rapids, Gladwin and Clare.

“The city is very cautious about increasing rates. Nobody likes to increase rates,” said Marek. “But we also have a responsibility as a city to maintain the infrastructure for kids and grandkids.”

The current 4-inch water and sewer lines will be replaced with 8-inch lines, which will increase water flow to the west side of town. After the water and sewer lines are redone, the roads will be re-paved.

A bike path will be added to one side of Church Street and diagonal parking will be added near the softball field.

Residents will receive letters soon with a notification of the upcoming project and a suggestion to take advantage of the disassembled road and find a contractor to redo the water and sewer lines to their house if necessary.

Anyone with questions about the project is encouraged to call Reed City city hall at (231) 832-2245.