KENOVA — The multi million-dollar waterline project to tie water services from Kenova to Prichard, a project once in danger of non-completion, is now picking up momentum.
After the project came to a standstill due to financial struggles in Kenova in April, the path to completion showed signs of life.
A $315,000 federal grant provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April 2017 was allotted for the design of the waterline and as part of the grant requirements, the city of Kenova was to put up a 25 percent funding match of $105,000 for the design phase.
In June 2016, council claimed the money was not available in the budget and work was at a standstill and had been for months with no explanation to the Corps of Engineers.
Corps of Engineers representative Shranna Roman came before the city council during the June 2018 meeting to give an update on where the project stood.
She said that the halt in progress was due to a missing signature from former Mayor Terry Carpenter, and that once the partnership agreement was signed the project could move forward.
"(Kenova was) awarded $1,450,000 dollars through the Federal Budget to go toward the Prichard project. At the time, the mayor (Carpenter) entered into a resolution for the design portion of the Prichard project," Roman said. "That resolution authorized him to sign a project partnership agreement for the design and construction but he only signed a project partnership agreement for design."
In April 2018, Council member David Scites said the city already had $100,000 invested in the project but didn't have the funds to complete it. Along with the rest of city council, he wanted to avoid putting the financial responsibility on Kenova residents with a rate increase.
Roman suggested the motion to give acting Mayor Don Bias power to sign for the project partnership agreement and for the funds for the waterline extension project, which would give him authority for him to enter a project partnership agreement with the Corps of Engineers for that amount of money.
The motion was unanimously approved by town council.
"They have helped us tremendously, especially on the CK waterline coming into town, they have been to every meeting," Bias said of the Corps of Engineers group. "We've had numerous meetings trying to get this water project started to Prichard so we need to give them a big 'Thank you.'"
U.S. Rep Evan Jenkins, who secured the federal grant intially, said he is thankful to see the project move forward.
"Thank you to the City of Kenova Council for approving the water line," he said. "So many people - community and neighbors coming together - that is what this is going to mean.
"Getting the four lane all the way from I-64 next year. We have waited way too long for this. We are going to get water, and that's going to help the [Prichard] community. That is going to help bring jobs, that is going to help Heartland Intermodal facility live up to its potential. We needed this."
Wayne County News Managing Editor Nikki Dotson Merritt contributed to this story.