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Editorial: Colrain should move on sewer system

Some old-fashioned advice for Colrain: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

A significant opportunity has been presented by the state in the form of a $2.5 million grant that would go toward the building of a town center sewer system. That money, while not necessarily covering the entire cost, takes this project well out of the hypothetical realm and into the doable.

But it requires residents’ support.

Basically, the proposal calls for the building of a sewer system for properties in Colrain center, serving roughly 50 residences and hooking them up to a wastewater treatment facility operated by Barnhardt Manufacturing Co., which — according to a preliminary engineering report done for the town — is running at about 50 percent capacity.

With regards to the environment, replacing the existing system of septic tanks and the like is a great step toward preventing future potential health, environmental and monetary issues.

Just as important, building a sewer system for the town’s center can be seen as a critical key to its revival and any future economic development One of the biggest hurdles to seeing any kind of use for existing buildings — such as some kind of store or restaurant, offices or retail shops — has been the lack of a financially and environmentally viable option when it comes to waste disposal.

For Colrain to better serve those living there as well as creating the potential for business and tourism growth, pumping life into the center requires solving the septic/sewer issue.

“Many times, businesses have contacted our office and said they would love to move here,” says Mary Vilbon, executive director of the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association. “But (the lack of) septic systems is always the reason why they turn away.”

That doesn’t have to continue to be the case as it now appears that the pieces of a solution are beginning to fall into place. Plenty of work remains ahead. Besides getting town approval to move forward, there must be talks with Barnhardt to ensure its participation in the project.

But it seems clear that it’s time to strike while the iron is hot, to drag out another cliche.

We encourage residents to get behind this project.

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