by ART LANDER JR.
Floyd County could be about to see a minor uptick in economic development, thanks in large part to a rather unsavory subject — sewage.
Southern Water and Sewer approved $3 million in contracts last week to construct a sewage treatment plant at Pike-Floyd Hollow and sewer lines from Stanville to Betsy Layne. The project, which still must hurdle the regulatory approval process, should certainly go a long way toward improving health and water quality in that area. But we fully expect to see fairly substantial economic side-effects from the project, as well.
Any casual observer can attest to the remarkable economic growth along the U.S. 23 corridor through Pikeville and Coal Run Village over the last 30 years. But that development has been somewhat stifled, once U.S. 23 crosses the Floyd County line. While no one can dispute that the area running from Ivel to Harold has also seen growth, it is just as undeniable that the growth has not been anywhere close to what is going on in Pike County.
Part of the problem has been the lack of sewage treatment. Although the area has everything else going for it — available land, adjacence to two population centers, a modern highway — the cost to businesses of installing septic systems or package treatment plants capable of handling commercial and industrial waste placed a bottlecap on the region’s ability to grow along with other nearby areas.
That should change, beginning soon after construction starts this summer. We anticipate the area will begin to see renewed attention from businesses, as the growth in Pike County at long last spills over into Floyd. That growth should have a positive impact not only on the county’s economy, but also on Southern’s ability to grow.
Southern Water has had its share of critics over its short life, but on the economic development front, providing sewer service to the southern end of U.S. 23 could prove to be one of the best decisions Floyd County has seen in quite some time.
— The Floyd County Times
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