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Doddridge officials trying to bring water to residents

WEST UNION — The Economic Development Authority of Doddridge County is working toward offering water access to more residents and creating infrastructure to support the county, according to Director Jennifer Wilt.

Several water projects are in place to provide water service to the 6,570 residents of the county who have to rely on alternative sources. In 2016, E.L. Robinson Engineering created a 28-phase, 30-year master plan for water access for the county.

Two grants were awarded to the county, Wilt said. One was through USDA for $2.6 million and the other from the Department of Commerce EDA totaling $962,000.

The USDA Grant was almost half their budget for the year, Wilt said.

“We’re very fortunate that they’ve partnered with us,” Wilt said.

A couple projects funded by the grants are in the works.

The first project was completed in November of last year. It involved bringing water to Doddridge County Park.

“(The park) is one of our jewels in the county,” Wilt said. “That was a priority to get water to the park, historically their water was bad.”

Project number two will involve the use of the EDA grant to serve approximately 35 to 40 customers and the Antero field office, which has about 200 employees, Wilt said.

It is hoped to break ground on the project next spring. The completion should take about three months, Wilt said.

According to Wilt, the West Union water treatment plant does not have capacity to service the county. Water has to be purchased from other communities, she said.

None of the projects would be possible without the help of the county commission, Wilt said.

“Their top priority is getting water to the county,” Wilt said. “We’re very lucky. Without their support, we would be at ground zero.”

Since the creation of the public service district in 2016, $2.2 million has been invested in water projects, Wilt said.

Bringing water to the county will help its overall development, Wilt said. She explained that without water, there cannot be any economic development.

“We need to diversify and build up a different economy and a different tax base aside from the gas industry,” Wilt said.

Ideally, Wilt said, she’d like to see the county house a small manufacturing company and to see more local businesses and entrepreneurship.

“The county commission is working on quality of life projects for the people that live here,” Wilt said.

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