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Ridgeland gets infrastructure ready for anticipated population explosion

The population boom hasn't happened yet, but Ridgeland officials are laying the groundwork to expand its services when it does.

The Town Council last week chose a site for a new fire station, committed money to re-activate an old well and told town employees to pursue funding for a sewer project.

Ridgeland has grown from two square miles to 45 square miles over the past several years, said town administrator Jason Taylor.Its population has stayed between 2,500 and 3,000 people, but there are enough permitted developments waiting in the wings for the population to explode tenfold.

Town officials signed two development agreements early last year -- one north of Interstate 95 at Exit 22 and another near the Sergeant Jasper Country Club. Officials are working on a third development near the intersection of S.C. 336 and S.C. 462, Mayor Gary Hodges said. The developments would create between 20,000 and 22,000 new homes .

"Large developments are on the horizon," Hodges said. "You can't plan for something the day after it happens."

The town plans to build a secondary fire station on 1.3 acres east of I-95, at the intersection of Bees Creek Roadand S.C. 336. The Town Council will be asked to approve the $230,000 land purchase, Hodges said.

The town this year finished paying off Town Hall, built in 1993, and that freed up about $33,000 for the land purchase, Taylor said. The rest will come from cash reserves.

The fire station will cost between $1 million and $1.2 million, and it will be about a year before construction begins, Taylor said. Town officials will seek grants to pay for the construction, but if grants don't come through, the town will use impact fees generated from the new developments to pay for the station.

The town also authorized a $425,000 sewer line, dubbed the Grahamville Line. The line will start near the intersection of S.C. 336 and I-95 and extend a half-mile east. There is some commercial development in that area, but officials expect more growth, Taylor said.

Work should begin later this year, Hodges said.

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Activation of an old well in the center of town will cost about $550,000 and pump 600 gallons to 700 gallons of water per minute, Taylor said. Hodges said bidding for that project will open within a month or two. Hodges could not recall when or why the well was deactivated, but said that since the shaft is still in place, re-activating it would be cheaper than drilling a new one.

Town officials plan to apply for grants to pay for portions of the sewer and well projects. If the town does not get the grants, Taylor said it will delay construction until it can generate enough money.

 

 
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