‘A long time coming’

By: By Christine S. Carroll - Staff writer
State Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, whose formerly gerrymandered district once included parts of Richmond County, sizes up the officials wearing hard hats and waiting for their moment to hoist a ceremonial mound of dirt. Among those in line are state Rep. Ken Goodman and state Sen. Tom McInnis, both of Richmond.
Workers setting up the speaker system for the Town of Hoffman’s groundbreaking ceremony Friday tried hooking up their extension cords at a local home and inadvertently set the lawn on fire. Thinking fast, they grabbed a nearby hose. But the hose was so plagued by kinks and knots, it barely stretched far enough to put out the little blaze, which sneaked into a nearby conduit.

HOFFMAN — Officials have persisted for more than 11 years to bring a sewer system to Hoffman. But that doesn’t mean when they finally got to celebrate their victory over red tape and elusive financing, everything went smoothly.

First, workers set a neighboring lawn on fire when they tried to hook up the sound system. So the ceremony went without. (The fire went out with the aid of a much-knotted garden hose.)

The speechifying went fine (if hearing most of it punctuated by the drone of passing trucks on U.S. 1 counts as “fine”).

And in the long-awaited ending to the official ceremony, the line of dignitaries had to scoop the first shovelful twice because some-body was a little overzealous. (At least they all were wearing hard hats.)

“I’m just so thankful that we have come to this point,” Mayor Tommy Hart said to begin the celebration, which took place under a white tent and on folding chairs set up in a trampled plot across from the town’s northernmost welcome sign. “It’s been a long road, but it’s good.”

Both Hart and other speakers credited Town Commissioner Daniel Kelly with the most doggedness in the pursuit of a sewer line, which will run from Moore County down to Hoffman, connecting those on the easternmost edge in the project’s first phase. It was Kelly who began making noise in 1993 0r ‘94 about the need for a sewer system — he couldn’t remember which.

“We got turned down so many times, and the more they said that, the more I was determined,” said Kelly, dapper for the day in a purple pin-striped suit and lavender fedora. “One reason is, I’d like to leave this place I little bit better than I found it.”

To hear Kelly tell it, Hoffman found engineers McGill Associates — which has been working with the town for 11 years — as a gift from God: A company representative happened to attend the same conference as a Hoffman official frustrated by the engineering consultant the town had been working with before McGill.

Thence formed a partnership that worked for 11 years to plan a system, find financing for it and contract for the digging and installation of Phase 1, which actually began a more than a week ago, just south of the Moore County line and Friday included four earth-moving machines.

“This isn’t the end,” promised principal engineer Mike Apke of McGill. “We’re looking at (finding financing for) Phase 2, which pushes the system further west.”

State Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, and Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond, attended the groundbreaking, with Goodman saying he had tried and failed to finance the project through the legislature in 2011.

When state Sen. Tom McInnis rose to speak, he forecast that the new system would bring “opportunities this area has never had.”

“This area was a bustling, bustling place 50 years ago, a hundred years ago,” said McInnis, who will face a challenger from Moore County in the May Republican primary. “We’ve got the opportunity to bring people back,” both residents and businesses.

Several residents attended the ceremony, happy that the system was under way at last, even if they didn’t know whether they would be early beneficiaries.

“You really don’t know (whether your home is on the line) till they really start the digging,” said Carl Isaac, who lives just outside city limits. But, “it’s coming right by my house.”

Nevertheless, “I’m pleased with what’s going on. It’s been a long time coming.”

State Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, whose formerly gerrymandered district once included parts of Richmond County, sizes up the officials wearing hard hats and waiting for their moment to hoist a ceremonial mound of dirt. Among those in line are state Rep. Ken Goodman and state Sen. Tom McInnis, both of Richmond.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_hoffman_shovel_pierce.jpgState Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, whose formerly gerrymandered district once included parts of Richmond County, sizes up the officials wearing hard hats and waiting for their moment to hoist a ceremonial mound of dirt. Among those in line are state Rep. Ken Goodman and state Sen. Tom McInnis, both of Richmond.

Workers setting up the speaker system for the Town of Hoffman’s groundbreaking ceremony Friday tried hooking up their extension cords at a local home and inadvertently set the lawn on fire. Thinking fast, they grabbed a nearby hose. But the hose was so plagued by kinks and knots, it barely stretched far enough to put out the little blaze, which sneaked into a nearby conduit.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_hoffman_roadfire.jpgWorkers setting up the speaker system for the Town of Hoffman’s groundbreaking ceremony Friday tried hooking up their extension cords at a local home and inadvertently set the lawn on fire. Thinking fast, they grabbed a nearby hose. But the hose was so plagued by kinks and knots, it barely stretched far enough to put out the little blaze, which sneaked into a nearby conduit.
Officials break ground for new Hoffman sewer system

By Christine S. Carroll

Staff writer

PIPING PROJECT

Officially, the Hoffman sewer project has been in the works since 2014, when the town won a $3 million Community Development Block Grant for Phase 1. That phase is expected to link 64 homes to the new system and be completed at summer’s end.

The town recently also applied for $2 million to begin Phase 2, one of many likely phases to come. Each phase requires an engineering study, an environmental-impact report, design and permitting work, and a bidding process, so the process will be a lengthy one.

Residents have been given the choice of whether to hook up to the system or retain their working septic tanks. Most want to be connected to the new system, which means their septic tanks will remain in place but be capped.

Hoffman receives its water from Richmond County but found it would be too costly to seek sewer service from the county in which the town sits. The Moore County line is scant miles away and especially close to the town’s easternmost residents.

Community Development Block Grants, or CDBGs, come from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to finance affordable housing, antipoverty programs and infrastructure development. Because many Hoffman residents earn low to middle incomes, they will not have to pay to have their septic tanks capped or to connect their homes to the sewer system.

Phase 1 of the project includes the building of two wastewater lift stations and installation of 9,600 feet of sewer pipe.

Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]

Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]