Macedonia Hill project fully funded

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Sixty-eight Lawrence County property owners and residents will have “safe and reliable” public drinking water for the first time, thanks to years-long county, state and federal government efforts. 

Hecla Water and Lawrence County have secured the required financing for the Macedonia Hill waterline extension project. Dave Lucas, president of the Lawrence County Rural Water District since 2018, said multiple grants totaling $3.7 million were secured for the project. 

“It’s fully funded,” Lucas said. “There will not be any of this ‘well, we ran out of money; we can’t complete it’ going on.”

Email newsletter signup

Seventy-one property owners are eligible to receive water within the project. Lucas said 68 signed up to get it. He said the reason the three additional landowners will not get water is because Hecla Water officials and a company they use to make those arrangements could not reach them.

“They made numerous but futile attempts to get in touch with those last three people or groups—whomever is paying the taxes for those parcels,” Lucas said. “They could always come back and probably add on, but they won’t get a tap run.”

The county’s role in this project is one centered on authorization, Lucas said. The county has housed some of the funding and signed off on documents to make sure everything is legal according to county and state laws and regulations. Hecla Water has and will continue to do all of the physical buildout and maintenance, Lucas said. 

This part of the overall project is a first step in a much larger effort.

“The goal was to try to provide everyone in Lawrence County with access to good, clean public running water,” Lucas said. “Whether we can pull that off, I don’t know—because of the time sequence. This takes a while.”

When this effort began, Lucas said he was “Mr. Enthusiastic,” thinking it could be accomplished in three months. 

“It has been a few years,” he said with a laugh. “You know the old adage ‘persistence pays off’? Even though it has been a long time, it is satisfying seeing this finally happen. You can’t throw up your hands and walk away. You have to keep walking into another meeting and hope that this will make it happen.”

The funding sources include federal, state and county government support. Lucas said there are also other sources of funding from throughout Ohio. 

“This is a labor of love for a lot of folks,” Lucas said.

Lucas said Hecla Water has “been faithful all the way through.”

“They sat at the table in the first meeting and they have been back to the table every time we have put something together,” he said. 

RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Program), a nonprofit network of specialists serving communities in multiple states including Ohio, is another organization, according to Lucas, that helped make arrangements for the funding. 

This month, bids are accepted for the Macedonia Hill waterline project; they are opened in June. Lucas said the target goal is to break ground in June or July. He said once this work is underway, the effort turns to determining what other property owners in the county do not have access to public water.