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Council OKs final phase of water plan
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Forsyth County News

At a price of nearly $6.4 million, Phase III of Cumming's 1020 raw water plan will be completed.

Cumming Mayor and council approved the project's final phase Tuesday night, awarding project bid to W.L. Hailey, which has also been awarded the first two phases.

"They're a great contractor," said Jon Heard, Cumming Utilities Department director. "We're pleased that we've had a good experience with Hailey and they're going to continue the project to its completion."

By June 2009, the entire project is expected to be completed and will allow the city to pull water from Lake Lanier from as low as 1020 feet below sea level.

When completed, the city will have the capability of pumping 110 million gallons of water per day.

During the design process of the final phase, there was a possibility nearby homeowners would be impacted by the installation of the 42-inch-wide pipe.

After tweaking the plan, however, and talking with area homeowners, there is only one property that would be impacted.

The city is currently in negotiations with the property owner and hopes to purchase an easement for about $4,000.

Between all three phases, the city has spent upward of $15 million, all of which came from the city's reserves, said Heard.

"Once the station is complete, it will supply the city and county's water needs for the next 50 years," he said.

During Tuesday's meeting, the city also approved a condition amendment and variance request for a medical center located between Oakland Drive, Maple Street and Pirkle Ferry Road.

The center is owned by Suresh Gudur, an internal medicine physician, and though it was originally approved to be two stories, the amendment approved by the city will permit the structure to be three stories, increasing its size to 34,200 square feet.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt added the conditions that the site work must be done within 60 days and construction of the building must be completed within 18 months. Should the conditions not be met, the city would revert back to the initial plan of two stories.

The city also approved a parking space variance, allowing the facility to have eight less spaces than the previously approved 128 minimum.