Council members voted unanimously to select two firms to design and provide engineering services for a sewer system to serve the historic district, which dates to the late 1800s.
Total cost will be $120,300, which will come from city reserve funds targeted for infrastructure projects.
City Manager Robbie Rokovitz said the process of getting to this stage of authorizing funds “entailed much discussion with many moving parts and intergovernmental cooperation.”
“I am proud of the Hiram City Council for their tenacity in seeing this significant economic development project take a giant leap in the right direction,” he said.
Businesses in the area now must use septic systems, which are a major impediment to attracting such entities as restaurants that typically produce a comparatively high volume of wastewater.
Mayor Pro Tem Prather “Pep” Rollins said every part of a city contributes to its economic development but “downtowns typically possess the historical traits which set the tone for the character of the surrounding community.”
“And we know that supporting and funding sewer infrastructure will help retain current merchants and attract new ones who could not open their doors without it,” Rollins said.
The council approved a contract for engineering for the design and construction management for three components of a sewer system, including a lift station, a force main and a gravity sewer line.
The council voted to select Marietta-based Croy Engineering to design and oversee construction of the lift station and force main.
Hiram will provide the funding to build the system infrastructure, and then give it to Paulding County Water and Sewer Department, which will own, operate and maintain it, Rokovitz said.
The county department currently provides sewer service to the bustling Hiram retail area along U.S. Hwy. 278 between Old Mill Road and the Cobb County line.
“The city of Hiram is not in the sewer business,” Rokovitz said.
Croy also served as engineering consultants for Paulding County on other lift station and force main projects – providing a comfort level for the future owner because of its familiarity with the company, Rokovitz said.
The council also selected Smyrna-based Stevenson and Palmer as the engineering consultants for the gravity sewer portion.
Rokovitz said he planned to recommend the company also be considered for design of a streetscape project that would be built on top of the gravity sewer line.
The project would extend a recently-completed streetscape project at Powder Springs Street and Seaboard Avenue to downtown Hiram, giving the city an uninterrupted sidewalk between the Silver Comet Trail and the historic area.
Councilwoman Teresa Philyaw said she was glad the long-sought project moved to the next step.
“I have been a champion of this project for a long time and could not be more excited about how our council embraced the idea and committed funding to ensure our city enhances its competitive economic edge in the metro Atlanta area,” she said.