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Contract awarded to construct well for Lanier resort

POSTED: March 15, 2013 12:21 p.m.

The board directors of the Lake Lanier Islands Authority this morning approved awarding a design contract to develop a Flowery Branch groundwater well that would provide nearly 1 million gallons a day to the resort.

The $280,000 contract was awarded to Rochester and Associates for the design, construction and permit applications for the well and related systems. The Infrastructure Committee, headed by Craig Dowdy, approved the recommendation on the contract at its Wednesday committee meeting.

The board members also approved the extension of a letter of intent through the end of the year so the board would have more time to purchase the well property. The exact purchase price is still unclear because the appraisal from the State Properties Commission hasn’t come back yet. Executive Director Bill Donohue said it’s expected by the end of this month.

The board is working with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to buy the land, rehabilitate the well and connect it to the Island’s infrastructure. The plans also include building a water treatment facility. The state of Georgia awarded the authority more than $4.4 million for the project last year.

The primary customer would be the 1,500-acre Lake Lanier Islands Resort, although the cities of Flowery Branch, Buford and Gainesville were approached for a possible partnership. The well is expected to yield about 860,000 gallons per day, which is well above the current need. It allows for future growth and well as a surplus supply to go to other area water providers. However, all three cities said they didn’t have an immediate need for more water.

"At this point, I don’t anticipate having an immediate partner from any of the water utilities," Donohue said.

The water to the resort is supplied by the city of Gainesville and it could lose more than $300,000 in annual revenue once the vacation spot’s system is set up.

Grier Todd, chief operating officer also updated board members on the their push to create a community investment district, a self-taxing entity. Todd said they were about 98 percent there and he said he hoped to wrap that up by April 1.


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