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Fries seeks grant money

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

FRIES — The Town of Fries is seeking funding from the Virginia Department of Health to complete a system-wide water improvement project on the town's water infrastructure.

Town Manager Brian Reed spoke briefly to council before action was taken during a regular meeting March 2.

Reed said the Lane Group — which is working with Fries on various projects — helped the town compile a list of everything that needs updating throughout the system.

All lines, tanks and parts at the water treatment plant were checked and an all-inclusive list will be included with the application to the Department of Health's Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Program.

Reed said it is unknown at this time if the town would receive grant money or a no-interest loan.

If a loan is offered, he said the town would likely refuse the project as costs are estimated at $500,000 and even without interest Fries could not take on the debt.

Along with updates to the infrastructure, Reed said the project would include replacing all meters, adding meters to buildings that don't have them, adding pumps to give those higher on the hill more water pressure and various repairs at the plant.

"These updates should get us through the next 20 years," Reed told council.

The application will be submitted by April 2, and Reed was unsure when notification of money received would be known.

Councilwoman Carolyn Jones motioned to approve the resolution permitting the town to seek the funding. It was seconded by Vice Mayor Nancy Hawks and passed unanimously.

Additionally, council supported a resolution to apply for membership in the Virginia Main Street Affiliate Community.

Reed said that, if accepted, the town would be eligible for additional grant funds it could apply for.

Many of the steps required have already been completed, as the town already has a master plan for its downtown area and a downtown community group already in place.

Reed said the membership would not cost the town anything and that membership would only be a benefit to the town.

Hawks motioned to approve the application. It was seconded by Council Member Gary Sumner and passed unanimously.