ROGERSVILLE - The Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted Tuesday to apply for two grants, one for a screening system to help keep the sewer from getting clogged; and one to continue renovations and improvements at Swift Park.
A backed up sewer flood last year in three adjacent Main Street business revealed a problem that was blamed partly on Hawkins County Jail inmates flushing garbage, and what appeared to be parts of jumpsuits or rags, down their commodes.
But, the incident revealed deficiencies in both the city and county sections of sewer, and the state has ordered both to come up with a remedy.
Rogersville will apply for a Community Development Block Grant which would require matching funds not to exceed $89,000, although Rogersville Water Superintendent Bill Pearson said Tuesday the city's match cold be as low as $35,000.
During the Water Commission meeting held Tuesday prior to the BMA meeting Pearson explained that two screening systems they will purchase with grant funds can be installed by city employees, which will save money.
"That's to put two screens down at the sewer plant,” Pearson said. “They're going in at the head end. Right now we've got a screen down there that is really deteriorated tot he point it's not doing much."
"We can save money by doing this work ourselves, and we're capable of doing it.”
Pearson noted that the existing screen is also in the wrong place, past the entrance of a swirl. Nothing stops debris from entering the swirl, and it gets stopped up.
"The screen should have been been put in the front," he added. "The situation we had with the jail was not helping any, but still, it was not designed right, in my opinion. These (two new screens) will be up front, and we're going to keep the old one too."
Pearson said they won't know if the grant has been awarded until October, and If they do get it, the money wouldn't arrive until July of 2019.
"Any time we can spend $35,000 and get $350,000, we need to do it," said Commissioner Mark DeWitte.
The BMA also approved a state tourism grant application for $75,000 with a 10 percent match to pay for ongoing renovations at Swift Park, which is located on Hasson Street adjacent to the Chip Hale Center.
Since 2016 Chamber of Commerce director Nancy Barker has spearheaded a committee attempting to raise funds for a complete overhaul of Swift Park with attractions that would be unique to the neighborhood.
Barker wasn't available Tuesday or Wednesday to comment on what the new $75,000 would be used for specifically.
During a 2016 meeting she said the project will be done in phases and entails installing shelters, a walking trail, playground equipment, benches and horseshoe pits, security fencing and lights, and a new restroom building.