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City gets sewer plant land

Officials hope to finish $23M project in 2016

MORRISON – The city has completed the purchase of land for its new sewer plant, but it will be years before residents see a finished facility.

“Now, the work begins,” Mayor Everett Pannier said.

Over the next few years, residents will see big hikes in their sewer bills to pay for the plant, which is expected to cost $23 million.

As are many cities, Morrison is building a new plant to meet environmental regulations. Officials figured it made more sense to build a new plant than to fix the old one.

The city first considered building the wastewater treatment plant at Waterworks Park, but neighbors protested, saying it would hurt their property values. 

After Pannier became mayor in May, he started looking for other sites. Over the summer, the city struck a deal to buy 30 acres on the west side of state Route 78, just south of the Morrison Institute of Technology. It was owned by the Wilkens estate.

The price tag was $439,000.

The property also includes a house.

“We will sell the house,” the mayor said. “It’s a matter of when. We’re not in a really big hurry. Do we offer a house with 3 or 4 acres that we won’t be using for the plant?” 

The city’s engineers already have planned the project, Pannier said, but now they will need to do a site-specific blueprint.

No complaints about the site have emerged during public discussions. Pannier said he met with the board of the Morrison Institute of Technology to answer questions.

“I will be back visiting with them to tell them what we are doing,” he said. “There was a hue and cry a year ago about the [Waterworks] location. We have remediated it.”

An official from the institute couldn’t be reached for comment.

The city hopes to start construction in spring 2015 and finish by mid-2016, Everett said. 

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