ALBANY -- A number of trees have been taken down at Chehaw in recent days to prepare for the park to convert from septic systems to sewer lines.
The drawings for the lines, which will replace a dozen, aging septic systems scattered throughout the park, are already in place. Bids for the $1.2 million project, funded through a recent special-purpose local-option sales tax, are expected to go out next month.
"We are looking at a one-year timeframe for completion," said Chehaw Executive Director Doug Porter. "We think it will be done sooner."
In order to make way for the sewer lines to be put in, Porter said there were a number of pine trees that had to come down, although he was unable to say exactly how many.
"When we are done, we will replace the trees and grass," he said.
It is a project that Porter said officials at the park had been wanting to do for a number of years. There were difficulties involved, but after thinking it over, it was decided that the benefits would be greater in the long run.
"It will help us now, as well as with facility expansions in the future," he said. "... It will probably help us in a lot of different ways.
"This is probably the biggest infrastructure project we have ever done here, now that I think about it."
The new lines will extend to the playground and campground. The animal park will not be a part of the project.
The sewer lines represent just the first phase. A second phase, which is expected to cost $500,000, will include improvements to the waterfront -- such as a new recreational vehicle (RV) campground and a renovation of the park's boat-launch ramps.
"It is going to give us (a chance to) develop areas we were unable to develop before," Porter said. "We will put more bathrooms for the public and (the RV facilities) by the waterfront where we were unable to put a septic tank."
The new campgrounds are expected to be in operation by the summer or fall of 2014, Porter said.
In the months following the project's completion, there may be other businesses or organizations nearby that could benefit -- which potentially means an economic boost for the area.
"For the park, it will generate money," Porter said. "As far as the area, there are businesses nearby that could hook up. The park needed it, but I think others will benefit from it."