MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – Nearly $11.5 million in grants have been awarded to the city of Muskegon Heights for its water system, including replacement of lead service lines.
The city received an $8.4 million water infrastructure grant that will help the city replace the service lines, according to a statement issued by state Rep. Will Snyder, D-Muskegon. The state is requiring the replacement of all lead service lines by 2041.
Muskegon Heights received another $3 million for additional infrastructure projects that include replacement of water mains, according to Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-North Muskegon.
“Over the past few years, former Muskegon Heights City Manager Troy Bell and I worked together on projects that would greatly benefit the city of Muskegon Heights,” Bumstead said in a prepared statement about the grants.
Bell left the city’s employment as of Wednesday, Feb. 1, after a divided city council decided not to renew his contract. He had been with the city for three years.
The funding will help pay for water main replacement in several locations, according to Bumstead. Those include along Sanford Street between Oakwood and Broadway avenues, along Columbia Avenue between Fifth and Peck Streets and along Fifth between Summit and Broadway avenues.
“I’m excited to see the positive impact this funding will have on the well-being of Muskegon Heights residents,” Bumstead said. “Infrastructure investments like these are critical for growth and prosperity in any community, and it is exciting to see this project gain legs.”
Muskegon Heights Mayor Walter Watt, who has been a supporter of Bell, thanked the former city manager for his work on securing the grants as well as his commitment to the city.
“He worked on getting this grant as hard as anyone, along with Sen. Bumstead,” Watt told MLive. “Without him doing that work we probably wouldn’t have this grant. So, I send thanks to him … for the work that he did. He did a lot for our community.”
The city has already begun replacing lead service lines with the help of a low-interest loan, Watt said. That has helped the city pay for needed street repairs, since the water service line replacements require streets to be torn up, he said.
“That’s the only creative option we have to get the streets done,” Watt said.
Among several key vacant positions with the city of Muskegon Heights is the water filtration plant director. The city has contracted with the City of Muskegon for assistance in operating the plant.
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