Winchester Denied Unsewered Community Grant, Will Try Again This Fall

By Benjamin Cox on January 17, 2023 at 7:55am

The City of Winchester found out some bad news for an infrastructure project earlier this month.

The Scott County Times reports that Benton & Associates Engineer Greg Hillis delivered the news that the city’s grant application for the Unsewered Communities Construction Grant Program was denied.

The grant would have allowed the city to install sewers to the Coultas properties the city owns west of Main Street. The city has zoned the properties to develop for residential and commercial use. It’s the second year in a row that the city has applied for the grant.

Hillis told the city that the EPA still has additional rounds open for the program over the next 3 years. According to the Times, this year’s round had 24 applicants asking for $91.1 million worth of projects.

Hillis told the Winchester City Council on January 4th that one of the reasons their application was rejected because they didn’t have a signature from the Osage Nation Tribal Council on an archaeological survey done two years ago. Hillis previously told the city council that the dig turned up nothing conclusive as far as disturbance of any Native American artifacts or burial grounds. The Osage Nation did not accept the findings of the dig because the archaeologist overseeing the dig is not on their list of people who the nation will accept information from. Hillis told the council on January 4th that the list of acceptable people all come from Oklahoma, and it would cost upwards of $10,000 to get them to Scott County to perform another dig.

Mayor Rex McIntire told WGEM on Friday that the city has sent out letters with the studies attached to six tribal councils who cover the area in hopes of getting acceptance to perform the work.

City officials say they will reapply to the program this Fall.