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Crown Point to receive $21M for drinking water improvements

Crown Point Mayor David Uran, center, accepts a check from the Indiana Finance Authority and Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday. The funds will go toward the city's $19 million water system improvement project. 

CROWN POINT — The city will receive a piece of the $910 million pie Indiana will dish out to support wastewater and drinking water projects across the state.

Crown Point will receive a $21.2 million federal loan for a new drinking water tank, pump station improvements, chlorination and looping, which seeks to eliminate dead-end water mains.

The town of Schneider, which is south of Lowell, was awarded $877,600 for wastewater treatment plant improvements.  

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the funding and partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday.

“When we say infrastructure, we often think of our roads, but Indiana has more than 46,000 miles of water infrastructure,” Holcomb said in a news release. “Delivering clean water and protecting public health are top priorities, and I am grateful that our partnership with the EPA will help empower communities across Indiana to take our water systems to the Next Level.”

Crown Point Mayor David Uran said the loan will help finance the city's $19 million water system improvement project, which is financed through the State Revolving Loan Fund, also known as SRF. 

The city won't see the $21.2 million directly, rather it will be doled out to the city by the SRF over time in small chunks that coincide with phases of the project, Uran said. 

The city began planning for the project four years ago, with the intention of completing it all at once. However, the SRF set an annual $7.5 million limit on loans due to the amount of applications.

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So, the city had to break up the project over three phases to not miss out on the fund's 2% interest rate. The WIFIA loan will allow the city to finance the rest of the project without having to worry about blowing the annual loan amount set by SRF. 

The project is expected to take two to three years, and the first phase is in its final stages and expected to wrap up at the end of the year. 

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The second phase focuses on the city's water tanks, including adding a secondary water storage tank near Kaiser Park on South Main Street. 

Over the summer, the city was "pretty much done" with water line work, , said Albert Stong, president of Commonwealth Engineers Inc. 

The WIFIA loan will be processed through the Indiana Finance Authority and save the organization nearly $20 million, according to the news release.

The projects funded by the loan statewide will create more than 3,000 jobs, the release states. 

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency has provided the WIFIA loan 13 times, lending out more than $3.5 billion.

"The WIFIA loan will be instrumental in helping Hoosier communities make significant improvements to their water infrastructure, including the Region’s very own Crown Point," said state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, who is the chairman of the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee. "I’m thrilled to see an investment of this magnitude being made in our state, and I will work to continue the momentum."

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