An area of central Mount Airy that is home to key industrial and business operations will benefit from a major utility project to be partially funded by a federal grant.
City officials recently learned that Mount Airy was approved for $300,000 in grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission for the Factory Street Area Water Systems Improvement Project.
That sum will be joined by a $533,000 allocation of city funds to provide the estimated $833,000 cost of the project that will serve local businesses including Hanesbrands Inc. and other sites on the east side of Lovills Creek.
The project will include the replacement of aging and undersized water lines and improvements to service connections and hydrants in the Factory Street area. City officials say that important businesses and industries there are underserved by smaller and older lines, some of which date to the 1920s.
In addition to Factory Street, lines are to be replaced along Pine, Derby, Granite, Durham and Marshall streets, officials say.
Improvements along Pine Street will create a looped water-distribution system that City Community Development Director Martin Collins considers a highlight of the project. The looped system will replace several dead-end lines and improve supply reliability.
The new water lines to be installed will range in size from a 6-inch diameter on a few smaller streets in the project area to a 12-inch diameter in more critical areas.
A new 8-inch line on Derby Street will serve Hanesbrands, while a new 10-inch line on Factory Street is to serve Cardinal CT, Blue Ridge Bone & Joint, Wound Care Center and other physician and business facilities along with residences in that vicinity.
The larger lines will increase the capacity of key stretches of the water system.
The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners recently voted to accept the $300,000 grant from the Appalachian commission, which will provide about 35 percent of the total project cost.
One drawback in the plans is that construction on the water system improvements will not begin in the foreseeable future.
“I see this as something that will happen next year,” Collins told the commissioners.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.