Newberry receives $2 million for water projects  

Newberry City Hall
Photo by Suzette Cook

Newberry officially received $2 million from the state government through this year’s budget, and the funds will help pay for two water projects. 

The funds were part of the Florida Legislature’s $117 billion budget sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis in May, including more than $20 million for projects around North Central Florida. While DeSantis nixed some of the items—such as the $1.75 million for Alachua County’s proposed meat processing center—Newberry’s two it requested both passed his desk.  

“We are delighted with the support we’ve received from the State Legislature,” said City Manager Mike New in a release. “These grants are a testament to Newberry’s future-focused planning and our commitment to environmental stewardship and economic vitality.” 

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Newberry City Manager Mike New
Photo by Seth Johnson Newberry City Manager Mike New.

Newberry’s proposed regional wastewater treatment facility will get half of the funds—$1 million. The project has been in the works for years, and the design phase should finish next year, followed by construction.  

The projected cost for the facility is $40 million and Dallas Lee, Newberry’s chief financial officer, said the city has gathered $10 million in state funding to date. He said the city hopes to end with $20 million to $25 million in grants to fund the facility.  

The cities of High Springs and Archer have begun plans to join Newberry on the project. The facility would be housed in Newberry with the other two cities piping their wastewater to the site. 

Lee said the cities will need to start establishing contracts in the next few months in order to finalize the capacity.  

The second $1 million will help build the city’s third and largest water tower—a project estimated at $6.4 million. Newberry already has a 300,000-gallon and a150,000-gallon water tower. The new one is slated to hit 500,000 gallons.   

The water tower will sit along State Road 26 across from Destiny Community Church on a parcel donated by a development. The city has been in preliminary engineering and design for the past few months.  

“[SR 26] being our main corridor, we expect some economic development projects and some growth along that area,” Lee said. “So, we want to make sure we have water pressure in that area.”   

Lee said the tower will also increase reliability in case of storms and benefit potential development at the city’s Agri-Tech Innovation Park, where UF/IFAS has its building next to the Alachua County Equestrian Center.  

Lee said UF and the city have had discussions about the park, and a few weeks ago, Newberry earned a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a feasibility study on the site. That study could finish this year, but the city still needs to hire a firm for the work.  

Construction on the water tower might start in the next year or two, Lee said.  

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