Grant City grant

Grant City officials and Emily Wicoff of Snyder & Associates celebrate a $5 million grant award at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting. From left to right: Wicoff, Mayor Debbie Roach, Alderwoman Catherine Runde, Alderman Tyler Steele, Alderman Bruce Downing, Superintendent Carl Staton, Alderman Kevin Kobbe and City Administrator Meggan Brown.

GRANT CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced on Nov. 18 that Grant City was one of only 35 applicants to receive a wastewater grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The grants, made up of $410 million from the state’s allocation of American Rescue Plan funds, were made available to Missouri communities for the purpose of improving drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, as well as lead service line inventories.

There was certainly no lack of interest in the program, which Parson’s office said received more than 1,000 applications across the four eligible categories.

Of the 329 who applied in the wastewater category, only 35 received an award — including Grant City for $5 million, the maximum amount eligible through the program.

City officials said it was a team effort from City Administrator Meggan Brown and the Board of Aldermen that led to the successful grant award.

Grant City was in need of the funding for mandatory upgrades to its lagoon treatment facility to meet more stringent discharge limits in its operating permit. The backup plan would have required a $2.2 million loan and would have caused the community to lose out on much-needed inflow and infiltration improvements to the stormwater system intended to address leaking pipes that caused stormwater to flow into the sanitary sewer system.

Now with the grant funding, the city will be able to cover the cost of the treatment facility upgrade as well as address aging sewer pipes throughout the community. The city pledged a $66,000 match when applying for the $5 million grant.

The triumph was so important for the city that Emily Wicoff, a project manager with Snyder & Associates in St. Joseph, drove up to the Board of Aldermen meeting last week to deliver the news — along with a cake to celebrate.

“You’re helping your community at least half a century down the road; with the loan, it wouldn’t have been — it would have been 35 years,” Wicoff said.

Wicoff has been intimately involved in the project since its beginning stages.

“She not only made my day, she made my next five years,” Mayor Debbie Roach commented when she first received the news. “It’s a very big deal. I’m extremely excited that the city will not have to cover the cost and I am very appreciative of the effort put into securing the funds by everyone involved. Future generations will not have to worry about our wastewater system for a long time. With the replacement of our main waterline a few years ago, and now this project, our water and wastewater system should be in great shape.”