ESTO – When Governor Rick Scott Scott announced Dec. 27 that $24 million was to be allocated across 36 rural communities through the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant and the Rural Infrastructure Fund programs, Esto was on that list.

Esto initially filed for the grant in September in order to upgrade the town’s water system and refurbish their water tower. The $600,000 in funds will allow the town to do exactly what they need to do.

The need for these upgrades came fully into focus after Hurricane Michael tore through the area on Oct. 10. Public Works employees were hand pumping the wells in order for residents to keep their water supply because the generators were sporadically working.

As part of the project, the town plans to have two standalone generators, one for each well. There will also be new tanks at each well and electrical updates so the wells can better communicate with each other.

A main water line will be laid down on Highway 79 from John Clark Road to Tenth Street. The water lines that were done just over a year ago will not be affected by the new system. The upgrades will improve on the lines performance.

Councilmember John Hagans spoke on what the funds mean to the town and why the upgrades are important.

“We need to fix the motor before we paint the car,” said Hagans. “Improving our water system is a starting point for other projects we hope to complete for the betterment of our town.”

Work on the project is expected to start early this year.