Charleston Mayor Sedrick Smith said he is "definitely excited" about Thursday's news that the city has been awarded a $256,096 grant for water system improvements.
The Delta Regional Authority monies will be used to replace a water well pump beneath the city's elevated water tower at the Charleston Industrial Park, finance reconstruction of two buildings that house the city's water chlorinating equipment and upgrade electrical units that power the chlorinating apparatus.
"The buildings that the equipment is housed in have deteriorated, fallen apart," noted Smith. "A lot of the electrical units that are there need upgrading. They're from many, many years ago."
The award is one of 12 announced Sept. 17 by 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and comes through the DRA's States' Economic Development Assistance Program and Community Infrastructure Fund. A news release from Thompson's office said the Charleston grant will affect 736 families.
"It's much needed and it's something that I've been working on for many years — trying to improve the quality of our water and just to make sure that we have adequate pressure of water for our fire protection," said Smith. "This grant will provide some of those much-needed repairs for our drinking water and for our fire protection throughout the city."
The mayor said the latest award will enable improvements in an area that he has targeted since he took office.
"When I came in, there were several things that I had on tap that I definitely wanted to do," Smith explained. "We replaced each sewer pump, and now we're in the phase of our water. And these are two of the areas that we will be continuing to receive money for and approach money so we can get them repaired and up to standards."
Other areas, he noted, include recreation, public safety, economic development and streets.
IN THE PHOTO: Charleston's elevated water tank is located in the city's industrial park. (Photo by Clay McFerrin)