ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- One city aims to kick start economic development by putting in a sewer line.
Wayland Baker recently opened Ken's Barber Shop on West King Street, and he is excited to hear about a new sewer line that will be installed in West Augustine.
"Everybody will benefit from it," he said.
He and the City of St. Augustine believe that the sewer project will bring business to an area of town that doesn't have much business in it. It hardly has any sewer service.
Most homes -- and the few businesses here -- have septic tanks. So a sewer line would be attractive because "a septic tank takes up property. It's a maintenance. It's also an ease to have sewer available right out front. That way you can utilize your property to its full extent," said Todd Grant with the city's utility department.
City leaders broke ground on the sewer line Monday, and the city plans to start with commercial hook-up first, which will make it more "financially viable to install expensive infrastructure" Grant said. It could eventually and possibly cost less for residents to hook up.
Wanda Johnson has lived in her home in West Augustine for almost 50 years, and she welcomes a sewer line instead of relying on her septic tank.
"You have to have them pumped out every so often and if you have a sewer you don't have that problem," she said.
This part of town is one of the few areas left in the city's service area that isn't provided a sanitary sewer system, Grant said. "If you look at the age of the houses, most of the septic tanks are failing or are going to fail in the near future, so it's important to come up with a plan to provide incremental residential sewer service."
As for Baker the barber, he can't wait to see the area buzzing with more business.
"That would be lovely! Because more business means more customers. More customers for other businesses means more customers for me," he smiled.
The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by late November. Grant said phase 1 costs $170,000.