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Waterline project delay discussed

WELLSVILLE — A St. Clair Township trustee offered his help speeding up efforts to finish the Old Fredericktown Road waterline project this year.

Jim Sabatini attended Thursday’s Buckeye Water District board meeting to ask if he could help in getting funding for the project released. This was after the newspaper reported last month release of the funding was being held up because of delays resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

He said residents have been asking trustees about the delay and what to expect when the project gets underway. “The funding is there. We know that, and I’ve tried to explain that to people,” Sabatini told the board.

The first phase of the project — completed last year — involved extending an existing BWD trunk line 1.6 miles north from Ruby Drive on Old Fredericktown Road to just past the entrance to the Frederick Heights housing subdivision. The second phase, which was to be undertaken this year, called for secondary lines to be run into the housing sudivision, but that has not occurred.

To fund the second phase, the BWD obtained a $900,000-plus grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help pay the estimated $1.5 million cost, along with $250,000 through the Appalachian Regional Commission and $300,000 from the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA).

BWD Director Al DeAngelis said they are waiting for the Army Corps to sign off on the paperwork releasing the money, which could occur by the end of the month or early October at the latest. Meanwhile, the state legislature has to act so the the OWDA loan money can be released.

Sabatini said he would contact state Rep. Tim Ginter, R-Salem, and state Sen,. Mike Rulli, R-Salem, to see what can be done about speeding things along at the state level.

Board members expressed their frustration with the delay, with board president Mike Ryan, saying. “I would have liked to have had it done last summer.”

Sabatini said there has been a silver lining to the delay: More property owners are expressing interest in hooking into the waterline. DeAngelis said they have been getting similar inquiries from property owners elsewhere, which he attributes to problems caused by the stress on their wells resulting from this summer’s drought.

DeAngelis has said they intend to bid the project this year and begin construction as soon as possible. Sabatini said if the project is delayed much longer he could speak with residents to determine if they favor holding off beginning the project in the spring.

Meanwhile, the St. Clair Township trustees are working with the Columbiana County Engineer’s Office to obtain state Issue 2 funding to repave the roads that will be torn up by construction.

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