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Coal Grove gets water line funds

COAL GROVE — The village of Coal Grove hosted a special meeting of its council on Thursday to discuss infrastructure projects, with the focus being on a grant the village has received to replace its water lines.

The village had applied to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the grant for the $4 million project, which is to replace all water line within Coal Grove limits.

Village engineer Kevin Wood said the village was now on the draft list to receive a $1,956,625 grant and a $1,956,625 loan for 30 years.

“You are one of nine projects of 200 in the state to receive grants,” he said, noting the village was fortunate to make the list.

Wood said the project would also cover new fire hydrants, valves, meters and any pavement repair needed. All residents would need to be connected to the new system as well, he said.

The council and Mayor Larry McDaniel met to discuss options to pay for the loan.

Wood said that a typical resident in Coal Grove pays $33 a month for 4,000 gallons of water.

“You’re probably on the lower end,” he said.

Council member Andy Holmes said a possibility would be a $5 or $6 increase in water fees.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has said, emphatically, ‘I would be willing to pay $6 a month for new water lines,” he said.

Council members said one of the biggest complaints they hear about from residents is that of dirty water, which comes from the older lines. They also said a new water system would be a help in drawing businesses to the area, with fire protection made stronger.

The council will have to move soon to pursue the matter.

Wood said the final plans would have to be approved by the EPA, then a contractor hired and construction bids in hand a year from now.

“You can see from all the steps that 12 months can get eaten up pretty quickly,” he said.

He said he would continue to work to secure more grant funding.

Holmes said the village should be strategic.

“We should plan for now to borrow the money and be thankful if we do qualify,” he said of grants.

Village administrator Chuck McKnight thanked Wood for his efforts in securing the funds, which he worked on with funding coordinator Rochelle Laipply.

Wood praised the council for their thorough work in documenting the need for the project, which was key in getting on the draft list.

“You guys did a good job,” he said.

Wood also discussed the need to make the village eligible for Community Development Block Grant funding for infrastructure projects. He said an income study must be done, as the last data showed the village did not qualify for low-to-moderate income status.

The council agreed to a proposal from Bowen National to perform a door-to-door survey of randomly-selected residents to update the data. Village resident will also be sent a questionnaire in the mail.

The special meeting took place before the regular meeting of council.