SANGER — This spring, city staff will present a proposed plan to the Sanger City Council outlining how the city can entice future developers with expanded water and sewer support.
Officials said they will begin engineering the first phase of the infrastructure expansion this spring and could break ground within a year.
Several hundred acres of land remain undeveloped in north Sanger on the east side of Interstate 35 and the railroad tracks. Without adequate water infrastructure, officials say, developers won’t give the area a second look.
Commercial and industrial developers are not interested in the area because its water and sewer infrastructure is unable to sustain new developments, City Manager Mike Brice said.
The need for expanded infrastructure has been talked about for years, city documents show. This spring, city staff will present a plan to the council explaining what the city needs to do to reach its goals, Brice said.
“It will not be until the council presentation that we will have a proposed outline of the plan,” he said. “The proposed plan will have timelines, goals and projected costs.”
City officials say they want to expand and improve water and sewer lines to make the area “shovel ready” for developers within the next 10 years.
But the city’s next step is to locate money to fund the project.
Brice met with the city’s 4A Economic Development Board in November to get the board’s assistance on the project.
Board members oversee the use of funds from a half-cent sales tax, which can be used only for making investments that lead to new jobs. For instance, 4A funds were used in attracting the Wal-Mart Distribution Center to Sanger.
“The 4A board members were supportive of the idea, and as projects are developed that are 4A eligible, we will approach the 4A board and request funding,” Brice said.
Some other possible funding could come from the city’s Water Capital Improvement Fund and the Enterprise Fund.
The work involved to expand the water lines could be costly and Sanger might have to incur significant long-term debt, according to a city study. Officials warn, however, that incurring such a debt now is not recommended because of uncertainty in the economy.
According to a study completed for Sanger by KSA Engineering in 2008, consultants identified about $8 million in water and wastewater improvements around the city.
The expansion of water and wastewater services is part of a multi-year plan that addresses infrastructure needs throughout the city, Brice said.
It won’t happen overnight, he said, and it will require careful planning every step of the way.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org