Westover considering plans for pandemic relief funds

WESTOVER, W.Va. — Officials are moving forward with plans to use American Rescue plan money to improve Holland Avenue in Westover.

Mayor Dave Johnson said they’ll use 100% of their $1.7 million in ARP money and possibly use money from the the recently passed infrastructure bill to complete the work.

Westover Council will work with the Region 6 Planning and Development Council to bring the project together. The council is funded partially by the Appalachian Regional Commission and typically defrays their expenses by charging 3-percent of the project value.

Region 6 Executive Director Sheena Hunt said they can help the town identify and pursue grant funding streams for specific portions of the project. Additionally, Hunt said they can help with project compliance along the way.

“Working with the engineer putting applications together, doing the administration of the finances throughout the project and working with the agencies closing out the project,” Hunt said.

The earliest work could start on the project is the spring of 2022.

“The bottom of Holland Avenue when you’re going toward the bridge, that wide spot by the old glass shop, it’s going to start right there and go all the way to the top of the hill and possibly down the other side,” Johnson said.

City Attorney Tim Stranko urged council members to evaluate all options and take advantage of the influx of relief and new infrastructure spending from Washington D.C.

“We can go as broad as making this a gateway into the city by addressing lights and aesthetics,” Stranko said. “There a lot of options that may be in front of us, and may be grant funded, but we don’t know that. But, Sheena and her staff we can navigate that.”

This project would include new storm sewer, some retaining wall repair and sanitary sewer service replacement. Approximately one-third of the sanitary sewer connections in city limits are along the proposed project area, according to Johnson.

“So, what we’re trying to do now is get all the infrastructure done, get the road in the condition we can pave it, fix some of the walls on the way up and that’s the project,” Johnson said.

Johnson hopes growth trends will continue and the city will have future spending power to do more infrastructure projects.

“It’s long overdue, but we’ve been busy with all the annexations we’ve done,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to get to a point where we can fund a lot of these projects ourselves, and we’re getting close.”

The Region 6 Planning and Development Council will return with more information for council members at the next scheduled meeting.

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