Grant funding helps supply water to Honda
by Shane Dunaway
LINCOLN — One approved grant, another grant pending approval and sizable investments by the Honda manufacturing plant and the Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board signal changes are on the horizon.

Donna Fathke, principal planner for the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, said Honda plans to invest more than $115 million to bring in new equipment, make building modifications and increase the company payroll, adding 50 new line worker positions to the plant.

Honda’s self-investment prompted the awarding of the $300,000 Community Development Block Grant approved by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to the Talladega County Commission March 21.

The $300,000 grant, combined with a yet-to-be approved $250,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and an $830,000 investment by the water works, funds a project to install nearly a mile of new water lines to enable Anniston to serve as Honda’s water source.

“Currently, Honda uses well water in its manufacturing process,” Fathke said. “The minerals in the water cause production problems for the plant. Using Anniston’s water supply that comes from a cold water spring alleviates the issues in production since the water is a pure source.”

Fathke anticipates the two-phase project valued at $1.4 million will take 10 months to complete. She added construction will begin once the ARC grant is approved and bids for the project’s contract are awarded.

Jim Miller, general manager and chief executive officer of the water works, stated the joint-funded project greatly benefits both organizations.

“The long-term revenue we will gain by having Honda as our customer makes this a win-win situation,” Miller said. “By giving them access to a high-quality water source, it will help keep the company and its jobs here in Alabama.”

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