New Ellenton was one of 14 South Carolina communities that received a healthy sum of grant money to make infrastructure improvements.

The South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority awarded $3.8 million in grants to upgrade, improve or extend water and sewer infrastructure, and New Ellenton received $350,000 of those funds.

New Ellenton Mayor Vernon Dunbar said the city is beyond grateful for these funds.

“We’ve been trying to do some needed repairs and upgrades to our sewer plant, and the grant is going to allow us to do that,” Dunbar said.

Some of those upgrades and repairs would include work on the spray system and replacing some of the plant’s deteriorating pond liners.

“The design of the plant is sound, but we need to do the upgrades to keep it in compliance,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar added that Council will meet next Monday during a work session to further discuss plans for this grant.

According to a press release, these grants will benefit more than 8,000 South Carolina residents, and 70 percent of the funded projects are upgrades to address health or environmental concerns that will not only improve existing systems but prepare for new economic development in those areas that received this grant money.

“Setting the table is a key part of economic development success,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, who also serves as chairman of the RIA’s board of directors, in a press release. “The RIA grants help those communities lacking resources in making the infrastructure improvements necessary for them to succeed and remain sustainable.”

The South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority was recently formed to support the construction and improvement of rural infrastructure.

The agency offers competitive grants and other financial assistance.