Two major water/sewer extension projects designed to aid with business development have been contracted to a local firm.

Obrist & Company this summer won the contract from the City of Columbus to create a Sewer Extension District (SED) along Lost Creek Parkway from 38th Street to just west of 10th Avenue. The project is initially being funded by the city’s Capital Improvement Project budget in the amount of $698,875.75.

“The Energy Triangle is that land that Loup Public Power purchased and is in the process of putting their service center on,” City Administrator Tara Vasicek said. “So when Loup decided to build out there they asked the city to work toward serving the site through a project, and then they will be assessed for their portion (of the expense).”

SED construction includes the extension of a 12-inch sanitary sewer main, manholes, street under-crossings, de-watering and other work in accordance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan and 2- and 10-year Utility Plan, according to City Engineer Rick Bogus. The sewer location will be located on the south side of Lost Creek Parkway within the existing roadway right-of-way.

Loup’s new service center is expected to open in late fall on a 15-acre plot of land inside of the approximately 105-acre Energy Triangle. 

While the city is footing the upfront expense related to the SED project, benefiting properties will be assessed for the project’s expense. Although, there is a bit of an exception.

“If a property is technically benefiting from this (project) but they are just using it to farm, they could request an ag deferment – state statute provides that,” Vasicek said. “So they can just contact us and say that, ‘we are going to continue to use this as ag, so we want an ag deferment.’ Then they don’t get that assessment until either the ownership of that land transfers or they develop (on the land).”

The schedule set up between Obrist and the city calls for the SED project to be completed prior to winter weather rolling through.

In addition to the project benefiting Loup Public Power, Obrist is also handing water and sewer district extensions that will benefit the new corporate office of Pillen Family Farms being built north of Columbus Community Hospital.

That project, contracted in July, is slated to cost $320,492 and will take stretch across 48th Avenue from 42nd Street to Lost Creek Parkway, according to information provided by Bogus. Sanitary Extension District work includes the extension of 12-inch sanitary sewer mains, manholes, street under-crossings, de-watering, bypass pumping and other related work.

Water Extension District work includes the extension of 18-inch water mains, fire hydrants, fittings, de-watering and other related work. Both projects are part of the 2- and 10-year City of Columbus Utility plans.

“These two projects, in particular, are developing just outside of our (city’s) service area for our infrastructure with water and sewer,” Vasicek said. “In Loup’s instance, it’s just out of our sewer area; Pillen is sewer and water and on 48th Avenue we are upgrading the pavement for Pillen, as well.”

That pavement project – and unrelated expense to the water and sewer work – is taking place on 48th Avenue from 38th Street to Lost Creek Parkway. Vasicek said that the city will soon select an engineer designer who will bid the project before the Columbus City Council gets it contracted, hopefully by December.

The city administrator emphasized that now is a very busy time for the city regarding getting the ball rolling and completing sizable infrastructure projects.

“There’s a lot of activity, which is a good thing,” Vasicek said.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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