Commissioners approve $25,000 contract to study sewer expansion project in Uniontown

BROWNSTOWN — The Jackson County Commissioners approved a $25,000 contract to have an engineering firm do a study on possibly adding a sewer system to the Uniontown area for further development.

Craig Luedeman, a business development manager for Indianapolis-based HWC Engineering and former Seymour mayor, came before the commissioners March 15 to see if his company could do a study to see what the best approach would be to add a sewer system or lift station to the southeastern part of the county.

He said the project is being considered to be funded through the READI grant.

READI stands for Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative. It is a grant program from the state that encourages Indiana counties, cities and municipalities to team up as a region to propose projects that better the growth and development of that region.

Jackson County is part of the South Central Indiana Talent Region, which also consists of Bartholomew and Jennings counties and the town of Edinburgh.

In December, the South Central Indiana Talent Region received a $30 million grant. Approximately $2.4 million of that is expected to go to Jackson County for a Uniontown sewer expansion project.

The Uniontown project is estimated to cost around $8 million, but Luedeman came to the commissioners with plans for HWC Engineering to see if they can keep that cost down.

“One of the things the company kind of looked at is ‘Is there a scope of service that would be cheaper to do things?’” he said. “Basically, can we study that area for a short time to see if it is easier to pipe it somewhere or build a lift station to open up the Uniontown area for development?”

Commissioners President Matt Reedy said previous Jackson County Council President Kari Storey approached him about possibly doing the sewer expansion as a READI grant proposal when the program was announced, and he hurried to make sure everything was turned in on time for the project.

“It’s like the last area in Jackson County that isn’t floodplain, and that project is pretty near and dear, I think, to the tri-county region for possibly bedrooms, possibly industrial expansion, and I’m so adamant about that project moving forward,” he said.

The sewer expansion would affect development in Jackson, Washington and Scott counties. A small part of Jennings County also would be in the area.

“I think it’s possibly the long-term best benefit to the county as far as development goes,” Luedeman said.

A $25,000 contract to have HWC Engineering do a site study for the sewer expansion project was approved by the commissioners on a 2-0 vote. Commissioner Drew Markel was not present at the meeting.