April 1, 2024 at 10:26 p.m.

Water tower dilemma

Village applying for grant, looking at available dollars


FORT RECOVERY — The village is still figuring out what to do about its dilemma with water tower bids.

Fort Recovery Village Council heard about a potential grant Monday that would aid in covering the cost difference.

Initial plans called for building a 250,000-gallon elevated water tower — it would be similar to the existing tower located along Industrial Drive on the southeastern side of the village — with an additional 2,600 feet of water line to connect it to the village’s distribution system.

At the end of 2021, Fort Recovery applied for $1.25 million through the Ohio Department of Development for the project, which was estimated to cost around $1.45 million at that time. Although it was denied the first round of funding, the village was awarded a $1.25 million grant in June 2023 from the Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure program. The village at that time anticipated the project to cost about $1.7 million and planned to contribute about $450,000 from its water tower improvement and water capital funds.

Council discussed bids March 18 for constructing a second water tower on the north side of the village. Each bid came in higher than expected, with the lowest from Caldwell Tanks of Louisville, Kentucky, at $2.4 million.

(Other bids from Pittsburg Tank and Tower Group of Henderson, Kentucky, and Phoenix Fabricators of Avon, Indiana, were more than $3 million.)

Village administrator Randy Diller noted Monday he has applied for a $600,000 grant through Ohio Senate president Matt Huffman’s office. The purpose of the one-time community infrastructure funding, he explained, was established for situations such as Fort Recovery’s current predicament.

“It’s not meant to be the (main) funding for a project, it’s meant to make sure the project can happen,” he said. “I’m hopeful … but there’s no guarantee.”

He noted it’s possible but unlikely the village will hear back about its grant application prior to village council’s first meeting in May. (Caldwell Tanks’ bid is valid until May 14.) Diller said he and fiscal officer Roberta Staugler will be reviewing the village’s budget and capital improvement plans this week to determine how many dollars will be available for different projects.

Also Monday, Diller said he is looking into doing a case study on the wastewater lagoons with Aquafix, a wastewater treatment group. The company has pitched a 120-day treatment for $10,000 — it would provide the product at 50% cost with the village agreeing to conduct testing — in an effort to reduce sludge buildup. Diller said if the treatment would reduce the sludge by even half the current amount, it would make dredging the ponds considerably cheaper.

Diller also pointed out two new aerators have been installed in the wastewater lagoons, with one already running and other being hooked up sometime this week. The equipment is intended to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

In other business, Fort Recovery Village Council members Al Post, Luke Knapke, Cliff Wendel, Scott Pearson, Erik Fiely and Greg Schmitz:

•OK’d closing the brick portion of Wayne Street from 1 p.m. to midnight June 12 for Fort Recovery Jubilee’s Taste of the Town event.

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