Infrastructure to be strengthened
The Westmoreland County Industrial Development Authority voted Sept. 6 to apply for funds to replace dam infrastructure in Placid Bay, wiped out this time last year by Tropical Storm Lee.
Neighbors and residents stand atop the destruction that remained of the Placid Bay area dam following Tropical Storm Lee.
The $1.1 million request to Rural Development will go towards replacing the two dams that failed during last year’s back-to-back natural disasters with newer, sturdier infrastructure. At that time, some residents there were stranded with no way to get in or out of their community.
According to Norm Risavi, county administrator, the county is also applying for revenue sharing funds through the Virginia Department of Transportation to replace the roads over the two dams, but will only do so if the underlying infrastructure is rebuilt to current code.
A six-cent tax rate in the Placid Bay subdivision will go to repay the associated debt in addition to a user fee in support of the road improvements. The tax revenue will go into a special fund, Risavi said.
“It’s going to significantly affect those property values if that is not repaired,” Risavi said.
Risavi also said that the areas affected by the dam failure could become “jurisdictional wetlands” if action isn’t initiated within 36 months.
Just before the Authority’s vote to pursue the federal monies, Richard Allison commented that “This is one of the best feelings I’ve had since I’ve been on the IDA.”