The Pilot Rock city water project is back to square one, or really Phase I.

The city had been planning to upgrade its water system earlier this year, but took a detour in March to attempt to grab some stimulus dollars for the project.

It recently learned that grab didn't garner any cash.

At its late May meeting the city council learned their bid for stimulus funds was rejected. City Manager Paul Koch said it was a matter of competition. Of the 112 applications the state received, it was only able to distribute stimulus funds to 17 projects.

So the City of Pilot Rock is reverting to its original plan to spend $416,000 to $466,000 n the first phase of its water project - to replace the main water line that runs from the city's tank just to the south of town to either Alder Street or the Pilot Rock High School. Koch said the length of the replaced line will depend on what the city gets when it goes out for bid next week and how far the city dollars will stretch.

The $400,000-some amount is money the city has saved and allocated through a $2.50 water rate increase specifically meant to fund improvements.

Koch said now that the city is continuing with its Phase I plan, it hopes to begin construction in August.

It was always a backup plan, even when the city tried for stimulus funds.

The city applied for $2 million in stimulus funds, which would have funded not only Phase I of the water project, but also installed new water lines to all four wells in town, added pump stations at two of the wells on the Masonite industrial property and installed meters that can be read by radio at all of the city's 650 residential meters.

The city decided to apply for the funds under recommendation from Anderson-Perry and Associates President Brad Baird, who urged the officials to give it a try.

"Take this out for a drive and see what kind of deal you get," he said at a work session back in March. "If it comes back and the deal isn't good than stick with what you've got."

Which is what the city did.

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