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Hiram officials consider bringing sewer to historic downtown
by Adam Elrod
September 17, 2013 04:35 PM | 2347 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kathy Bookout stands outside of the building her antique store formerly occupied in downtown Hiram.
Kathy Bookout stands outside of the building her antique store formerly occupied in downtown Hiram.
After years of talking about the need for a sewer system in Hiram’s historic downtown the city council is seeking to take action.

All of the businesses in the downtown area are currently on septic tank systems.

Post 2 Council Member Kathy Bookout said the state of Georgia limits the type of businesses that can operate with the use of a septic tank.

“As a property owner [of a downtown building] it is vital that we have it,” she said.

Bookout owns the building which formerly housed Main Street Antiques and the Book Shelter.

She said she would like to see the area stay in its current historic state – the area was first developed in 1850 -- and possibly be protected as a historic area. Also she wants the area to attract more tourism, she said.

“We have to put the right types of businesses there to move forward,” Bookout said.

One of the main types of businesses that struggle in the area are restaurants because the amount of water they typically use can put a strain on septic systems.

Northwest Georgia Public Health limits the sizes of such businesses based on seating, hours and water usage if they operate on a septic tank, said Tim Allee, district environmental health director.

Post 3 Council Member Teresa Philyaw said there have been successful restaurants in the past but only the Olive Tree has survived.

Bookout, Philyaw and City Manager Robbie Rokovitz all expressed the desire to have more restaurants in the area.

“I think everyone would be more comfortable with sewer,” Philyaw said.

Philyaw is up for re-election, and is running unopposed. She said she wants to see the sewer lines built in her next term.

“We are going to lose the downtown if we don’t [get sewer],” she said.

To build the lines Hiram would have to connect to Paulding County’s system about half a mile away near Hiram Elementary School, said County Administrator Mike Jones.

During a joint public meeting with the Paulding County Board of Commissioners and the Hiram City Council last week county officials advised the city to hire a consultant to do a preliminary construction plan.

A consultant would cost about $20,000, Rokovitz said. It would take them about a year of preliminary planning before construction could begin. Rokovitz said he could have a proposal to seek a consultant by the council’s October meeting.

There is not a time line of how long the construction would take, he said. Also the city would need to identify the funding, and the county would need to schedule when to hook up the lines.

The cost for such a project could be about $1.4 million, Rokovitz said.

“We would like to do a grant,” he said.

He has already been researching grants for which the city could apply. There is also a possibility of using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or reserve funds to construct the project, Rokovitz said.

“Somehow, some way, I’m going to get sewer downtown,” he said.

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