Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announces near­ly $6 mil­lion in water and sew­er projects for Clark County and Winchester at the cour­t­house Friday after­noon. At right, hold­ing the check for $5 mil­lion for WMU, is Hadley Farmer, a sixth-grade stu­dent at Henry E. Baker Intermediate School. (Photo by Randy Patrick)

The city of Winchester and rur­al water and sew­er dis­tricts in Clark County have been award­ed near­ly $6 mil­lion in state infra­struc­ture funding.

Gov. Andy Beshear pre­sent­ed the checks to offi­cials Friday after­noon at the coun­ty courthouse.

The grants from the $250 mil­lion Cleaner Water Program include $5 mil­lion to Winchester Municipal Utilities, $600,000 to the recent­ly cre­at­ed Clark County Sanitation District, and $310,000 to the East Clark County Water District.

County Judge-Executive Henry Branham and Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said they appre­ci­at­ed the gifts and that they will great­ly help the community.

WMU General Manager Kenneth “Duke” Dryden said the $5 mil­lion gift, one of the largest in the pro­gram, will allow the city util­i­ty to com­plete a major sew­er reha­bil­i­ta­tion project that has a Dec. 31, 2023 dead­line. The city has been involved in a con­sent decree agree­ment with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment since 2007 over its sew­er system.

“Without these funds, frankly, we prob­a­bly would not have been able to do the project,” and that might have result­ed in oth­er fed­er­al penal­ties, Dryden said.

Burtner, who was may­or when the project began, said the city had to dou­ble its util­i­ty rates to pay for the first $85 mil­lion of the project.

Beshear said the mon­ey would “ful­ly and final­ly sat­is­fy that con­sent decree.”

The WMU grant will be used to replace inad­e­quate sew­er line seg­ments, elim­i­nate san­i­tary sew­er over­flows, upgrade the Strodes Creek waste­water treat­ment plant to incor­po­rate the Fort Estill pump sta­tion dis­charge, which will allow for devel­op­ment near the inter­change of Interstate 64 and Ky. 627, and include mon­ey for stream restora­tion along Strodes Creek.

Ron Tierney said the $600,000 for the Clark County Sanitation District will help ini­ti­ate a $10 mil­lion project to replace three aging sewage treat­ment plants for mobile home parks along Rockwell Road with a new sew­er main to the WMU treat­ment plant.

Branham said the mon­ey will like­ly be used for design.

The oth­er grant, $310,000, is for a “shov­el-ready” project to replace some “real­ly bad water lines” in that part of the coun­ty served by the East Clark County Water District.

It will also install four meters to allow the util­i­ty to mon­i­tor water usage and detect leaks, refur­bish the Muddy Creek boost­er pump sta­tion and install a new emer­gency generator.

The mon­ey for the Cleaner Water Program is pro­vid­ed by fund­ing from the American Rescue Plan Act and admin­is­tered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.

“It’s been a good day for Clark County, it’s been a good day for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and it’s going to be a good decade to come,” said Beshear, who was joined by Rocky Adkins, a for­mer can­di­date for gov­er­nor him­self, who is now Beshear’s senior adviser.

Beshear used the oppor­tu­ni­ty to men­tion his administration’s recent eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment achieve­ments, includ­ing the announce­ment of a $6 bil­lion invest­ment for the Ford Motor Company’s planned BlueOvalSK Battery Park near Elizabethtown, which is expect­ed to cre­ate 5,000 new jobs, and he sug­gest­ed that Winchester would be a good loca­tion for one of its suppliers.

“It is just the begin­ning of December, and we have shat­tered every sin­gle eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment record in the his­to­ry of this state for new invest­ments,” the gov­er­nor said.

So far, those invest­ments have totaled $10.4 bil­lion, he said, which is about twice the usu­al annu­al aver­age for the state.

Kentucky is no longer “fly­over coun­try,” he said.

“We are on the cusp, I believe, of an era of pros­per­i­ty the likes of which we have nev­er seen and one in which we achieve our col­lec­tive dream,” he said, which is that “our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren” will not have to leave Kentucky to find success.

This has occurred despite the glob­al coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, Beshear said, and he urged Kentuckians to fol­low the bib­li­cal “gold­en rule” to act as “our brother’s and sister’s keeper.”

“If we tru­ly live out that teach­ing, we can pro­tect one anoth­er, and we can get over this thing,” he said.

  • Randy Patrick

    Randy Patrick is a deputy coun­ty clerk for elec­tions and vot­er reg­is­tra­tion and a for­mer reporter and edi­tor of The Winchester Sun.