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The city of Lancaster has residential and business growth on its mind and ways to spur it in 2008, says Lancaster Mayor Joe Shaw.
Along those lines, the city hopes to have the $7 million upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant completed this year. The upgrade will greatly expand the plant's capacity and improve treatment quality and allow for many new customers in the city.
"This will put us in a pretty good position for treatment expansion and growth in and around the city," Shaw said.
The city is hoping to bring in residential and business customers north of city limits, especially along U.S. 521, and to Fort Lawn in Chester County.
Fort Lawn residents will need a wastewater facility once Springs Industries shutters its service at the Grace Complex in 2010.
"I think it's the right thing to do to help our neighbors," Shaw said.
An agreement between the city, Lancaster County Water and Sewer District and the town of Fort Lawn should be reached soon, Shaw said.
To build the infrastructure needed to get the waste to the city's plant, a capital investment of a couple hundred thousand dollars will likely be needed from the city, Shaw said. But that investment should be returned with the increased revenues from Fort Lawn customers within a few years.
In 2007, Springs Industries ended 120 years of employing manufacturing workers in Lancaster County. That has triggered city and county officials to look closer at new ways of attracting new, desirable employers to the area.
Shaw said the city and county reached a landmark agreement with regards to the Lancaster Business Park last summer to allow businesses to locate there and receive the city's water and sewer service without being annexed, and thus paying city property tax in addition to the county's tax.
In return for providing its services without requiring annexation, the city will receive a share of the county's property tax revenue.
"This was an example of the city and county working together because we both need the jobs," Shaw said.
Kershaw to build new town hall
Officials in Lancaster County's southernmost municipality are looking forward to the construction of a new town hall in 2008.
It's slated to be built where the old town hall stood on Hampton Street.
Right now, Kershaw Town Council is meeting at the Leroy Springs Recreation Center and other town personnel are making do with makeshift work areas.
The town is awaiting final plans from its architectural firm, Millennium 3 Architects, before starting the bid process for a contractor.
That should be soon, said Town Administrator Tony Starnes. He said town officials are eager to move the process along.
"Building the new town hall would have to be at the top of our priority list," Starnes said.
At about 6,000 square feet, Starnes said the town hall will be a "little bigger and a little nicer" than the one demolished in November, which served the town for several decades.
The new, larger courtroom will allow for more efficient activity and greater public participation in town council meetings.
Starnes noted the large attendance at the December town council meeting, which took place inside a conference room at the Leroy Springs Recreation Center. He said that would have been impossible inside the old town hall.
"It will definitely give us the opportunity for more room," Starnes said.
The new town hall will also house administrative offices and the town police department. It is expected to cost about $750,000.
Starnes said last year was better for the town in terms of job growth. He mentioned the 30 to 40 new jobs created by Enhanced Filters, which moved facilities from Rock Hill to Kershaw.
"We haven't seen 30 to 40 new jobs in a long time," he said.
The town is also successfully marketing vacant buildings on Little Dude Avenue with the county to attract new jobs. Starnes said several buildings on the road have been occupied in the past year.
HS to upgrade water system
Heath Springs Mayor Ann Taylor has often mentioned the need to modernize town's antiquated water system in the past and thanks to a $872,000 federal Community Development Block Grant received last year, 2008 should include the completion of the first phase to overhaul the system.
"That (the project) will be very good for our residential and business customers," Taylor said. "We're looking forward to it."
The current system has corroded lines and weak pressure. Engineers are finalizing plans for the upgrade, which will include a new water main running along U.S. 521 toward the center part of town with secondary lines extending from it.
Customers in the central part of town will perhaps benefit most from the work, but the entire town should see increases in water pressure, Taylor said.
Taylor said the town was also fortunate to receive a $20,000 grant from the state in 2007 to pay for a water system needs assessment, which Williams Engineering completed early.
"That study provided the basic information we needed to apply for that grant," Taylor said.
The town also looks forward to the completion of the Heath Springs Industrial Park early this year. The park, which is owned by Lancaster County, has seen its share of delays over the last five years but now appears to be close to completion.
Now the challenge will soon be getting industrial occupants and new jobs, Taylor said.
"We're looking forward to that getting done and getting some new jobs in this area," she said.
Contact Johnathan Ryan at 416-8416 or email@example.com