The holiday shopping season has started and cars are pouring into the parking lot at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, Ky. Lots of people in the Louisville region will receive gifts this holiday season that were purchased at the regional outlet mall — and there’s a water connection to those gifts and the growth in the western part of Shelby County.
The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass opened in July 2014 on property fronting on Interstate 64. One infrastructure improvement that made building the mall feasible was supplementary water service provided to the West Shelby Water District by Louisville Water through a connection on Shelbyville Road.
Since then, Louisville Water’s partnership with Shelby County as a wholesale customer has continued to grow. In 2017, Louisville Water began a $16.1 million project to install a pipeline that will give the Shelby County area an additional, reliable supply of water over the next 50 years.
Work on the installation of eight miles of water main is roughly 80 percent finished with a projected completion in June 2019. The pipeline is being installed along I-64 from a point close to the Jefferson/Shelby County line to the vicinity of state Highway 55 in Shelby County. Once operational, the pipeline is expected to supply up to 8 million gallons each day to customers served by the Shelbyville Municipal Water and Sewer Commission.
“Louisville Water is able to invest in infrastructure improvements of this kind and grow our service area mainly because we have an abundant supply of high-quality water. In fact, we could practically double our production overnight if the demand was there,” said Kelley Dearing Smith, Louisville Water’s Vice President of Communication and Marketing. “We also have long-standing partnerships with the water utilities in Shelby County and projects like this are really a win for all of us. It’s not common for a water utility to be in a position like ours.”
In addition to providing millions of gallons of water to customers in Shelby County, the infrastructure improvement also makes additional residential and commercial development more feasible, increasing the likelihood for Shelby County to be chosen for major economic development projects.
“With the pipeline extension in Shelby County, Louisville Water is able to help our neighbors boost their water supply in a way that potentially could bring more jobs and opportunity,” Dearing Smith said. “We love to see our business partners thrive as a direct result of the service and product we provide.”
Shelby County officials are looking forward to having the increased water supply in terms of boosting current supply levels as well as drawing more businesses to the area. “We’ve needed and wanted it for a long time,” said Bobby G. Hudson, President and CEO of the Shelby County Industrial & Development Foundation, which focuses on the community’s business attraction efforts. “Water, sewer, gas and electric supply – that’s the first thing business prospects look at. The new pipeline is going to be a whole lot of help to us.”
In fact, a food and beverage company made a site visit to Shelby County in mid-2018, and the community is still in the running for that project, Hudson said. The company’s representatives were glad to learn about the Louisville Water pipeline project, as the business is a big water user. The new pipeline “could be a factor in landing the deal,” he added.
Hudson said there is a great appreciation for the quality of Louisville Water’s product and that the company’s excellence in water treatment efforts is well known in Shelby County. “We’ll be happy when they get it hooked up.”
Year to date, Louisville Water's Shelby County partners have used nearly 450 million gallons of water. Providing water to nearby communities through partnership agreements is an important part of Louisville Water’s business operations. Water sales through these contracts have grown steadily over the past five years.