BUCKHANNON — An over $8 million investment by the United States Department of Agriculture and partners will result in new and improved water service to nearly 6,000 customers in both Upshur and Randolph counties including Pickens School.
Kris Warner, West Virginia State Director for USDA Rural Development, lauded the partnership between not only USDA Rural Development and Adrian Public Service District and between the Adrian PSD and Randolph County.
“I don’t know where I have ever seen that before where a public service district in one county recognizes the need in another county and they cross the county line to be able to provide and take care of a need,” he said. “The Adrian PSD has not only done that once now, but this is the second time. It shows dedication and passion between rural communities right here in West Virginia.”
“It’s my honor today to announce a $4.9 million Waste and Water Disposal loan as well as a $3.8 million Waste and Water Disposal grant to the Adrian PSD,” he said. “This investment along with the help of the Randolph County Commission and the Randolph County Board of Education will provide the Adrian PSD with over $8.7 million to add and improve water service to almost 6,000 customers.”
Warner recalled being at Pickens School for an event 30 years ago and speaking with the principal who explained that when there is a dry spring the school or families near the school do not have access to water.
“I never would have dreamed that 30 years later we would be able to be in this position and help make this happen,” he said. “I’m sorry it has taken that long. It’s projects like this one and partnerships that show what it means to be West Virginia strong and I’m proud to be part of that.”
Lindsey Woody, office manager at Adrian PSD, said, “We are excited for this project to get funded.”
The Phase VIII project includes 10 separate water line extensions to serve approximately 105 new customers in Upshur County and 103 in Pickens in Randolph County as well make as existing system improvements and upgrades, according to Woody.
Woody recognized Hornor Brothers Engineering has been the district’s engineering consultant since the formation and for all seven of its previous water system expansion and improvement projects.
“Although Pickens is not within the PSD boundary, the Randolph County Commission along with existing residents in this area requested the PSD to extend the water service in this area,” she said. “The main need for this extension is to serve the existing Pickens School. The school currently uses well water and must have its own water operator on staff to provide an adequate supply of water during school hours.
The PSD’s proposal to extend water to Pickens would be the only possible way for the school to have an adequate supply of potable water from this utility, Woody added.
In support of this project, the Randolph County Commission donated $25,000 toward this project and the Randolph County Board of Education has donated $15,000.
“The town of Pickens is very excited and determined to have city water,” she said. “They are truly the ones to thank for the extension getting started.”
Randolph County Commissioner Mark Scott said Randolph County really appreciated the partnership and the funding to make the project happen.
Scott said when he was campaigning in 2016, he learned about how 15 residents in a dry spring would lose their water and the school would lose its water and couldn’t have school. At that time, Scott promised to work on the issue and credited commissioner Chris See for his help in working through the process.
“We are proud to be able to provide the donation we provided and we are so thankful the board of education also saw fit to give a donation,” he said. “The people of Pickens are excited and to get it funded so quickly. Chris I could not have done it without you.”
Warner also thanked Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) both of whom serve on the Senate appropriates committee and helped USDA secure the funding.
“This was not funded through what we would call our regular budget year,” he said. “We took it to the national office and asked for reserve funds.”