The ability to turn on the tap and have clean water is something that most individuals expect. For more than 60 residents in the Southeast area of the County—this was not always the case.
In 2012 it was discovered that residents of the Frazier Pike and Harper Road area were exposed to water contaminated with e-coli. Arkansas Department of Health reports revealed that 15 of 22 wells “were unsafe” and “public water would be in the best interest of the area in regards to public health.”
Tanya Childers of Central Arkansas Planning and Development District (CAPDD) and Mike Marlar of Marlar Engineering, Inc. held a public hearing with the community to gain support of a grant application for a Community Development Block Grant. Before an application could be submitted 51 percent of the residents had to qualify as low and moderately-low income and the community had to support the project. Approximately 75 percent of the Frazier Pike Community qualified as low and moderate-income households and qualified the community to apply for the grant.
The citizen group later made a presentation to the Pulaski County Quorum Court, who then approved the formation of the Frazier Pike Public Facilities Board, chaired by community resident Ricky Thomas.
“Over the years the water quality kept getting worse due to contamination from now closed businesses,” Thomas said. “In my opinion, you can’t have a good quality of life without good quality water.”
At the request of the Facilities Board and Pulaski County Community Services, in March 2013, the Quorum Court voted to allow the County to submit a grant application to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission for the purpose of extending water to residents of Frazier Pike and Harper Road. Childers was approved to be the Environmental Review Compliance Liaison and the CAPDD was appointed as the grant administrator.
“Every time a project such as the Frazier Pike water extension comes to fruition, it is a great feeling of accomplishment,” Childers said. The Frazier Pike project created a positive quality of life change for that community. There were many individuals that worked together to make it happen. I was blessed to play a part in it,” she said.
After gaining approval from several environmental agencies, the grant application was submitted and later approved. Funding for the project totaled $1,025,000; $775,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Program and $250,000 in loan funding from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to be repaid by the collection of $28.15 per meter, per month.
“Pulaski County has ensured the health and safety of families in the Southeastern portion of Pulaski County is protected by completing the Frazier Pike Water system,” Pulaski County Community Services Director Fred Love said. “This will enable current and future residents of this portion of the County safe drinking water; which is essential for a good quality of life.”
The project was officially completed May 10, 2016. Kajacs Construction laid approximately 3.5 miles of waterline to provide clean drinking water to 68 residents, of which 45 received LMI hookups to the new water system.
“There’s nothing more fundamental to a healthy community than access to clean drinking water,” County Judge Barry Hyde said. “This project is a success in the implementation of public works for a community that needed it the most. I’m proud that Pulaski County could contribute to improving the quality of life for the Frazier Pike community.”