Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Officials from the local and federal levels break ground on the new Leitchfield water treatment plant on Friday, May 24. Pictured shoveling the first mounds of dirt for the project, from left, are Leitchfield City Clerk Lori Woosley, Leitchfield Utilities Commissioner Keith Jones, Leitchfield Utilities Attorney David Vickery, Leitchfield Utilities Superintendent Dwight Embry, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, Leitchfield Utilities Commission Chairman Bob Crawford, Director of USDA Rural Development for Kentucky Hilda Legg, Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry, former Leitchfield Mayor William Thomason, Leitchfield Utilities Commissioners Dot McCall and Alden Alley, and Leitchfield Water Treatment Plant Manager Darren Dennison.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Officials from the local and federal levels break ground on the new Leitchfield water treatment plant on Friday, May 24. Pictured shoveling the first mounds of dirt for the project, from left, are Leitchfield City Clerk Lori Woosley, Leitchfield Utilities Commissioner Keith Jones, Leitchfield Utilities Attorney David Vickery, Leitchfield Utilities Superintendent Dwight Embry, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, Leitchfield Utilities Commission Chairman Bob Crawford, Director of USDA Rural Development for Kentucky Hilda Legg, Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry, former Leitchfield Mayor William Thomason, Leitchfield Utilities Commissioners Dot McCall and Alden Alley, and Leitchfield Water Treatment Plant Manager Darren Dennison.

The project to construct a new Leitchfield water treatment plant officially kicked off last Friday, May 25 when Leitchfield Utilities broke ground on the project.

Opening the ceremony was Leitchfield Utilities Commission Chairman Bob Crawford, who called the groundbreaking a "historic event."

Crawford said it has been nearly four years since the utilities set out on its venture to change the future of local water production by replacing the Leitchfield's nearly 50-year-old current water treatment plant with a new one.

"Every living thing on this planet needs water to sustain itself," said Crawford, recognizing the water treatment plant employees for the important service they provide their customers.

Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry then spoke about how the 50-year lifespan of the current plant is a testament to the people who have worked there and commended the commitment of decision makers to push forward with building a new water plant even in the face of opposition.

"I can promise you that in another 50 years, your children and grandchildren will thank those whose actions made this new plant possible," Embry said.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, who helped garner the city the funding to construct the new water treatment plant, then addressed attendees of the groundbreaking ceremony.

He commended local leaders for having the courage to vote in favor of building a plant and said that, without access to an ample supply of water, communities cannot grow.

"This is a testimony to four years of work," Guthrie said.

Leitchfield Utilities has garnered a total fund package of just under $13.5 million from USDA Rural Development for the construction of the new water plant, which consists of $3.461 million in grants and $10 million in loans.

Hilda Legg, director of USDA Rural Development for Kentucky, followed Guthrie and discussed the positive impact the new water plant will have on Leitchfield and Grayson County.

The new plant is expected to double the water output capacity of the current plant, thereby enabling Leitchfield Utilities to provide water to 3,000 more customers, she said.

Legg also encouraged local leaders to continue to think outside the box and work to grow America's rural communities with projects like the new water plant.

"Rural America is critical to the success of this country," she said to attendees. "When rural America is strong, America is strong...We're delighted to be partnering with you."

The new water plant will be built adjacent to the current plant at 3245 Lewis School Rd. in Leitchfield and is estimated to take two years to construct. Construction was expected to begin this week.