Neighborhood improvement

To the delight of neighbors, the water treatment plant on Beatties Ford Road will get a much-needed facelift.

The water treatment plant on Beatties Ford Road is about to get a much-needed facelift.

Built in the 1920s, the city-owned facility got its last major overhaul some 14 years ago. Today its rust-stained exterior and aging collection tanks belie the emerging West End image that some in the community – Johnson C. Smith President Ronald Carter among them – are trying to foster along the Beatties Ford corridor.

Over the next two years, the city will spend nearly $6 million renovating and upgrading the plant, which supplies about 13 million gallons of water each day to surrounding homes and uptown businesses.

The upgrade will include a fresh paint job inside and out. Energy-efficient windows will replace the glass panes that were installed when the plant was built. The two hulking towers also will get fresh paint.

A $2 million upgrade to underground pipes and valves has already begun.

For Qcity neighbors who live nearby, the renovation is long overdue.

“They should have kept it up over the years,” said Clyde Marshall, a truck driver who rents a home in the shadow of the aging plant. “They should have never let it get that bad.”

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Added neighbor Oswald Neal, who has lived in the community for 4 years: “This would not have been allowed in Ballantyne.”

Cam Coley, a spokesman for the City of Charlotte, said money has prevented the city from sprucing up the plant sooner.

“As with everyone’s budget,” he said, “there is more need than funds available.”

Meanwhile, some neighbors say their yards are being streaked with red mud flowing from the current work underway at the plant. Coley said residents who are having problems should call 311.

IN OTHER WESTSIDE NEWS:

State Sen. Malcolm Graham tells Qcitymetro.com that the Charlotte Arts & Science Council has pledged $60,000 to help beautify the Interstate 77 underpass at West Trade Street.

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Graham, who works as special assistant for government/community relations to JCSU President Ronald Carter, said the university would contribute an unspecified amount to the project as well.

Carter has said making the underpass more appealing and pedestrian friendly is crucial to redevelopment efforts near the school.

Officials at the Arts & Science Council could not be reached for comment.

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