Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik visited Washington Court House Thursday to officially announce that the city will receive a $625,457 grant to replace 2,075 feet of water mains along Lakeview Avenue.
These water mains are considered past their service life and subject to frequent breaks and failures, according to city officials. Since 2016, the city has repaired nine water main breaks along Lakeview Avenue, according to information provided by the state.
This funding is part of the Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grant program — funded by the Ohio General Assembly with funding that was appropriated through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Since applications for the program opened in late July, the Ohio Department of Development received more than 1,200 grant applications requesting nearly $1.4 billion in funding.
The City of Washington Court House will receive its full grant request.
“We’re really happy to be able to let you know that as part of this particular program, the City of Washington Court House is going to receive its full grant request of $625,457 to be able to replace the Lakeview Avenue water mains,” Mihalik said inside the city council chambers as she addressed city administration, city council and State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House). “So far, we’ve done three rounds and multiple projects in all 88 counties. Quite frankly, we want to do more. This program has been very popular. It’s been decades since we’ve done a substantial infrastructure investment like this and there’s a lot of need out there. We have more than 1,200 applications and more than $1.4 billion in requests.
“This is one time money. We improve our water infrastructure, we improve our waste water infrastructure, then we better position our communities for economic growth,” she continued. “And you all know that. That’s why you get to make the big decisions and sit in those seats. We’re happy to be a partner with all of you.”
Peterson added that he’s excited for the city as well.
“These are one time federal dollars,” he said. “Certainly, there are more infrastructure needs throughout Fayette County and across the state, and I expect and hope they’ll be more funding next year.”
The local project is within an area identified by the city as potentially containing lead service lines, according to information from the Ohio Department of Development. This project will also improve operational pressure throughout the neighborhood due to reducing friction losses as water enters the neighborhood through the replaced pipe.
This project is expected to benefit 500 people.
City council member Dale Lynch said, “I’m glad that from a political standpoint that everybody understands how important infrastructure is and how cities that have been around for a long time have problems with infrastructure. We’ve had problems with the EPA for many years, and so we’re trying to solve those problems. We greatly appreciate all the help from the state, the federal government, from everybody. It really helps us and we appreciate it.”
City Manager Joe Denen complimented the Ohio Department of Development for its work.
“The Department of Development has become much more active than it has been for a very long time,” Denen said. “The department has become increasingly active and that is a very positive thing. There are a lot of infrastructure issues like this that are long-term issues that we have a wonderful opportunity to address, and a lot of those that don’t create an ongoing financial burden that also really solve the problem. The department’s role in that has been absolutely wonderful.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced Tuesday that more than $109 million will be awarded to help fund critical water projects in all of Ohio’s 88 counties as part of the third and final round of grants awarded through the new Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grant program.
The $109 million in third-round funding will go toward supporting 101 drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects impacting 106 communities. In total, approximately $250 million in Ohio BUILDS grant funding is going toward 183 critical water infrastructure projects across the state.
“Clean drinking water is part of the foundation for a good quality of life, yet too many communities in Ohio can’t reliably provide residents with this basic necessity due to crumbling infrastructure has been too expensive to fix,” said Governor DeWine. “My administration is committed to helping our communities address these important water issues, and we look forward to additional conversations with the Ohio General Assembly about the potential of expanding this program with additional funds.”
Reach Record-Herald Editor Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.