WTPUD has $8,235,000 project underway

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Dignitaries –Dignitaries were present at West Tennessee Public Utility District on May 15 for the announcement on the progress on the $8,235,000 project the Utility District has going on in Weakley County. On the front row (from left) are Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum, Mayor Dale Kelley, State USDA Director Jim Tracy, WTPUD General Manager Brent Dillahunty, WTPUD Chairman of Board of Commissioners Ray Smith, and Carroll County Mayor Joseph Butler. On the back row (from left) are Clark Engineering representative Richard Clark, USDA Loan Officer Brandon Orr, USDA Area Director Joel Howard, State Representative Curtis Halford, State Senator John Stevens, State Counsel and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn’s representative Jeff Parrish, and FirstBank representative Braden Maddox.

West Tennessee Public Utility District (WTPUD) of Huntingdon is involved in a project to install 42 miles of natural gas pipeline in rural northern Weakley County.

Representatives of local, state and federal agencies met May 15 at WTPUD to see photos of the progress being made and discuss the economic impact of the project on the area.

The project consists of 17 miles of 6-inch-high pressure steel mains and 25 miles of 4 inch HDPE low pressure mains. It began by tapping into an existing high pressure line in Dresden and running north along SR 118 to Dukedom.

WTPUD received a Community Facilities Loan from USDA Rural Development of $8,235,000 for the project which began last year in December. The Utility District provided $1 million of its own funds for the deal with FirstBank providing interim financing during the construction phase of the project.

WTPUD General Manager Brent Dillahunty, who has served in that position for six years, said the Utility District is privileged to serve the people. There are 58 employees now that has grown from 40 just a few years ago.

“We are community servants,” he said.

He said the Tyson plant of Union City approached WTPUD about their $80 million expansion that would create 100 jobs and their need for gas.

“It was a big deal for WTPUD since the chicken houses need a lot of gas,” Dillahunty said.

When the project started there was no access to natural gas services in this proposed area. There are 102 agricultural poultry houses and 200 residential properties along the proposed expansion route. Several larger chicken houses are under construction, and dozens more are planned within the project area in the next 12 months.

WTPUD received a Community Facilities Loan from USDA Rural Development of $8,235,000.  

Jim Tracy, state director of USDA, called it an exciting day for WTPUD.

“It’s a great organization,” he said. “This is a big deal to us – economic development in a rural area and it’s 90 percent done.”

Joel Howard, area director of USDA called it a great private-public partnership.

Ray Smith, chairman of WTPUD Board of Commissioners, who has been on the board since 1969, said this last project was the best thing that WTPUD has ever done. He complimented USDA for coming on board and assisting.

The project is expected to be completed by late summer.

WTPUD has 15,000 existing customers.

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