The Elkhart Common Council dedicated $6.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to two city infrastructure projects at its meeting Sept. 13.
The first project, estimated to cost $3.6 million, will install new water and storm sewer mains in the area of Lasalle Street, McKinley Avenue and Benham Avenue.
It will also address an incomplete portion of a past storm sewer installation – currently, a storm sewer main dead-ends at Benham Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, causing extensive flooding on Benham during heavy rainfalls.
The city’s public works department said the project will also extend the storm sewer to 10th Street and Wagner Avenue, where it will connect to a direct outlet to the St. Joseph River.
Additionally, the project will extend water service to streets where none exists, eliminate some shared private lines, eliminate lead service lines and remove main where roads have been abandoned.
The second project, estimated to cost $3 million, will replace a section of water main between West Boulevard and Riverside Drive on West Lexington Avenue. The city said the water main – which dates back to 1913 – is buried too shallow, causing it to freeze in the winter.
The public works department said the project is already fully designed, but has been shelved for two years due to lack of funding. Dozens of lead service lines will also be removed as part of the project.
The funding comes from the $18 million the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Federal guidelines say cities can use the money to support public health expenditures, address the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
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