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Property acquisition moves Winlock sewer project forward

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The City of Winlock has announced the acquisition of property for a pump station to extend sewer lines to the Benaroya industrial park along I-5, allowing for the first major progress on the project in more than a year.

Reported by Mayor Lonnie J. Dowel during the council's Aug. 25 meeting, Dowell said Winlock has finalized the process of acquiring 0.22 acres of land from Rodney and Debra Dewlly on the 400 block of SR 505 for a total of $32,572, including all fees and closing costs.

"There are not supposed to be any additional billing or invoices arriving that are tied to this property," said Dowell to the council, indicating the city may now continue with the design phase of the project, which is the final step expected before construction begins.

Dowell had previously reported $30,000 of the total cost to acquire the property was provided by the Evelyn Miller Trust, established last year by late Winlock resident Evelyn Miller as a source of funding for private and public ventures seeking to improve the economic health of the community. He added $1,800 came from a city fund set aside for the project, while $800 came from the city's reserve fund to cover the remainder.

With the acquisition of the property, engineers with Gibbs & Olson can continue designing plans for the sewer line extension, which is expected to start at the western city limits by Grand Prairie Mountain View Estates and travel down SR 505 to Knowles Rd. The design for the project is being funded through a $200,000 county grant acquired by the city in 2012, of which Dowell said around $178,000 remains.

Once designs are completed, Dowell said the city will begin looking for construction funding and will likely turn again to the county for further grant assistance, which the county's Economic Development Council is able to make available through .09 Funding (money acquired from sales tax and set aside for infrastructure projects stimulating economic growth).

County officials have previously said they are dedicated to seeing the project succeed, as an active industrial park in the Winlock area would be a boon to the county overall because it would provide a basis for business that would remain above the flood plane and not be affected by disasters such as the large floods in 2007 and 2009.

Dowell said he has been told the project will cost around $1 million per lineal mile to complete, meaning the roughly 1.5-mile distance the pipes will travel could cost around $1.5 million to build. He said he could not, however, indicate when the design plans would be completed or when construction is expected to begin.

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