By Wayne Allen
County and state officials gathered on Wednesday at the Greater Portsmouth Airport to ceremoniously break ground on the $31 million dollar Minford Sewer Project.
Among those attending the ceremony was Sandy Doyle-Ahern, President of EMH&T the engineering firm on the project, “we celebrate today the culmination of five years of dedication by hundreds of stake holders. There has been a significant drive and persistence to peruse this project, that has come with a lot of time and work, it’s exciting to be able to deliver on promises to people of the Minford area.”
As a result of the ceremony the unincorporated rural communities of Muletown, Minford, Clarktown and Rubyville are one step closer to gaining access to a modern, centralized wastewater collection and treatment system.
“With the Portsmouth Bypass and new economic development opportunities in the area, the need to have safe and modern facilities was evident. The solution is what we’re breaking ground on today,” Doyle-Ahern said.
Doyle-Ahern said the project includes 50 miles of sewer, 19 pump stations and a new wastewater treatment plant. Once installed the system will serve 1,300 residences, businesses, churches and schools.
“A good portion of Scioto county will experience the improvements that are being constructed now,” Doyle-Ahern said. “This project received a $15 million dollar grant from USDA Rural Development and a $15 million dollar low interest loan from the state of Ohio office of rural development. Today, we acknowledge that over $24 million in contracts have been issued to local contractors in the area.”
Doyle-Ahern said it would be difficult to exactly know how many people have been in the project since the beginning.
“Over 200 people have touched this project and that’s before the contractors get out and build anything. Ten utility companies have collaborated on this project, stake holders includes eight state and federal regulatory agencies, four townships, two school districts and five county offices,” Doyle-Ahern said.
Also in attendance was U.S. Department of Agriculture Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan, “our objective is to create sustainable communities…and provide them with vital infrastructure and this is a very good example of that. There is no growth without sanitary sewer and water, that’s true across the country and now it’s true for Minford.”
Logan said the whole idea behind projects like this is to enhance real estate value for residents and to make the community more enticing for businesses to stay, build or expand.
“Perhaps more than anything else we hope to use these projects to inspire the next generation of youth in Scioto County to stay in the county, raise their families and contribute to the economy. We do this with vital infrastructure like water and sanitary sewer.” Logan said.
Logan said part of the funding for the project came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“This is the last stimulus project from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that we’re breaking ground on, because there were over 800 easements that had to be painstakingly negotiated and we are delighted this is all done. This is going to be a state-of-the-art system that will have both economic and environmental benefits. It’s going to make this area much more livable and provide long term growth.”
According to USDA, in 2010, more than $29.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were obligated for the Scioto / Minford project through USDA’s Water and Environmental Program, (WEP) including a $14,912,000 low-interest loan and $14,507,000 grant to the Scioto Board of Commissioners. Additional leverage includes $944,000 from the county and just over $638,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT