Cornelia has finished a $2.4 million sewer project that the Habersham County city hopes will boost commercial development along Ga. 365.
“What we’ve got now are punch-list items we’re working out with the contractor,” said City Manager Donald Anderson Jr. “... All the pipe is in and the lift stations (are finished).”
The city has put in some 42,000 feet, or nearly 8 miles, of sewer lines and built three lift stations.
Both sides of Ga. 365 between Demorest-Mount Airy Highway to mile marker 45 now have sewer.
“It was designed to handle everything in that area, which is an enormous land mass,” Anderson said of the project’s sewer capacity.
The city manager has said, “We’ll be providing sewer to a very large portion of Habersham County where there’s no sewer anywhere close to it.”
Cornelia used special purpose local option sales tax money to help pay for the nearly year-long project.
Also, earlier this year, the city was approved for a $985,000 Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan as part of an $86 million statewide effort to improve water and sewer systems.
Cornelia was approved for a Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan, which is reserved for wastewater infrastructure and water pollution abatement projects.
The city will pay 3 percent interest on a 20-year loan, with 15 percent of principal forgiveness.
“Sewer is coming up Ga. 365, which will open that corridor up for more commercial development,” Anderson said. “There is no sewer in the area currently.”
“With the new Walmart being built (off U.S. 441), we’ve got a lot of interest in that area commercially,” he said. “Nothing definite, just developers coming and taking a look at the land that’s around it.
“We think things are looking good for the future.”
The new Walmart, which has six outparcels surrounding it, could be open by August, Anderson said.
“This (new) sewer line is actually behind that (development) and then comes up Ga. 365, so it would open the door for anything that wants to develop around the Walmart,” he added.
The bulk of the project called for extending sewer to Habersham Central High School off Ga. 197. The county is building a new school across the road.
That area “never had sewer,” Anderson said, adding that the school has operated its own treatment facility.