GLOCESTER – Glocester officials are looking into the possibility of bringing public water into Chepachet Village. At the recent Town Council meeting, the council agreed to allocate $125,000 in grant money from Commerce Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank to explore the possibilities. The project is set to begin in August.
“The study will examine existing conditions and assess viable alternatives capable of delivering potable water to village residents and businesses,” said Town Planner Karen Scott.
Scott explained that the lack of public water and sewer infrastructure was one of the major obstacles to business expansion and development in the village. Installing individual wells and wastewater treatment systems, which the village now relies on, is often too costly for residents and small businesses. That also sometimes limits the use of additional spaces for affordable housing and more.
“Many existing structures are situated on small lots where it is impossible to site drinking water wells and onsite wastewater systems that meet the current regulations for separation,” said Scott. “The major deterrent of increased private investment in the village remains tied to infrastructure, including effective wastewater treatment. Until this issue can be addressed, economic growth in the village will be severely limited.”
The Implementation Plan for Decentralized Wastewater Improvements is a second part of the town’s overall plan, she explained. That will explore opportunities for innovative and alternative septic systems, educating property owners of different possibilities available and, where individual systems are not feasible, looking for opportunities to join with neighboring property owners with comparable wastewater needs and providing incentives to property owners to implement these recommendations. The $915,000 project is funded through a $250,000 Southeast New England Program, a Watershed Implementation Grant for $465,000, an EPA Decentralized Wastewater Grant and $200,000 of the town’s American Recovery Plan Act funds, and is set to begin in the fall.
“The town has repeatedly invested its limited funds in improvements to Chepachet Village and made changes to its regulations to ensure that private investment also conforms to the overall vision for the area,” added Scott. ” While the town has been driving the implementation of public infrastructure investments and regulatory reforms, the town felt it was also important to find ways to incentivize and assist local property owners to invest in their properties to not only beautify their exteriors but to attract new economic development and new residents to Chepachet Village, while maintaining its rural character as a historic village center.”
Both projects are part of the town’s overall goal of creating an environment in which Chepachet Village’s resources can thrive and expand since the 1990’s, explained Scott. The town, in partnership with other agencies, saw the implementation of over $15 million in infrastructure investment contributing to the village’s character as a historic, walkable commerce center, including new brick sidewalks and crosswalks, period lighting, street trees, planters, new signage and a new roundabout replacing the only stoplight in the district.