by Andy Heuring, The Pike County Press-Dispatch
Reprinted with permission

Petersburg Mayor R.C. Klipsch announced during the Petersburg City Council meeting Monday night, it is official, the city will receive a $7.5 million grant to redo the wastewater treatment plant. The council also set trick-or-treat hours, and salaries for 2020.

“This is about the biggest thing to happen to this little town, maybe ever,” said Klipsch.

Petersburg was notified they will receive the $7.5 million grant and low interest 40-year loan for $4.6 million.

“It is about a $13 million project. I can’t imagine us being able to do all of these things without participation from Rural Development. They are giving us $7.5 million that doesn’t have to be paid back,” said Klipsch.

“We are very fortunate to be able to rehab that facility and correct a lot of problems we have.” He said the plant is reaching its capacity, which would prevent Petersburg from being able to accept new customers without the improvements. “It will allow us to add customers.”

Klipsch said there are several areas around Petersburg that should probably already be on their system, but it just couldn’t handle them. He said it is also important for future development at I-69.

Ashley Willis, executive director of the Pike County Economic Development Corp., explained its importance. “In 2018, we completed the master plan for the I-69 interchange to achieve a road map for economic development that included land use planning, identifying existing infrastructure, infrastructure improvements/extensions. A critical piece to economic development is having water and wastewater capacity for economic growth for business attraction. Without water and sewer, we would not be in the game to attract new business and industry to Pike County,” said Willis.

“Mayor Klipsch has been a champion for the city and Petersburg’s utility services. The mayor also served on the master plan committee, realizing the future

growth at the interchange and Megasite is dependent upon water and sewer utilities. Through this process and the city’s planning process for the new water and wastewater treatment facilities, the mayor and city council took strategic steps to plan for the future growth and development at the I-69 corridor, the shovel-ready site and the Southwest Indiana Megasite. The recent grant award and low-interest, long-term loan underscores how needed these utilities are and expresses USDA/Rural Development’s support of our economic development efforts. I applaud Mayor Klipsch and the city council for being forward- thinking and planning for next 50 plus years for our community as we continue to attract new business and industry, and create new jobs for Pike County.”

Klipsch said the preliminary design of the wastewater treatment plant is nearly completed. He hopes it can be bid by the end of the year or beginning of 2020 and have it completed in 2021. “I know that may be a little bit aggressive, I hope we can do that. This is a big deal for us.”