Highland News Leader

Grantfork to move ahead on natural gas line

The village of Grantfork will sign a contract with Ameren Illinois to bring natural gas to town.

The Village Board approved moving forward with the project, which will extend Ameren’s existing line from Mary Sue Lane along Illinois Route 160 and into Grantfork, even though it fell short of its target number of 137 sign-ups.

“It would have been nice to see 137 people sign up, but we know there’s more people out there,” said Grantfork Mayor Steve Brendel.

About 120 people signed a contract saying they would take the new service, Brendel said, and that was enough for the board to move forward.

“Ultimately, we approved getting the ball rolling,” he said.

The board vote on April 20 was unanimous.

The reason the village asked for commitments from property owners was because the village must pay the up-front cost for extending the gas line, which must be bored under Silver Lake. The village will then be reimbursed by Ameren for each person who taps on. The 137 numbers represented the break-even point for the village between the cost and reimbursement money.

Brendel said there are about 200 potential tap-ons within the village, and that several people who did not sign a contract told him they would likely tap on sometime in the future.

“They said, if it was approved, they would probably go ahead and tap on when the line comes,” Brendel said.

Construction on the line could begin as soon as July.

“If everything goes well, they will have people getting connected by September, which is plenty of time before heating season gets here,” Brendel said.

There is no cost for the homeowner to tap on. The first 60 feet of piping to connect a building to the gas main is free. Pipes that need to be run a greater distance will be $6.50 per foot for anything over 60 feet.

The only other cost that can be incurred by the homeowner is the conversion of their home on the inside. Such improvements could include converting appliances or piping in the home to accept natural gas.