County closes on water plant deal

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(Posted Dec. 28, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison County commissioners are slated to enter 2019 as the new owners of London Correctional Institution’s water treatment plant.

The closing date for the sale was Dec. 28. The county is purchasing the facility from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) for $1.

The county will take over water service to London Correctional Institution, Madison Correctional Institution, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, and the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation–all located in the same area along State Route 56 north of London.

The county also plans to expand the plant’s service area up State Route 56 to Summerford, out Route 40 to Lafayette, and up Route 29 to the I-70 and U.S. Route 42 interchange. (Originally, the county wanted to extend service to Choctaw Lake, too, but the lake community recently decided to build its own facility.) The plant’s capacity is 1.5 million gallons.

“This has the potential to change the landscape,” said Rob Slane, county administrator.

With the ability to offer water services to these areas, especially the I-70/Route 42 interchange, the county will be “much more competitive” for potential economic development projects, he said, adding that a “significant number” of developers have expressed interest in the area.

Slane said the county hopes to attract businesses, such as manufacturing facilities, that come with higher paying jobs. This in turn would provide residents with more disposable income to spend in stores and restaurants which, he said, would bring more stores and restaurants to the area, too.

“It would have a trickle down effect,” he said.

History

About four years ago, the county commissioners approached ODRC, wanting to buy water from the London Correctional plant and distribute it. The state ultimately said “no.” Time passed and the county bought land at I-70 and Route 42 to build its own water plant and water tower.

Shortly after that, Slane said, ODRC contacted the county.

“They basically said, ‘We don’t want to be in the business of water and sanitary sewer anymore. We just want to be customers,’ ” Slane said.

The county got a contract from the state in November of this year, setting the sale price for the London Correctional plant at $1. Closing was set for late last week.

Costs and timeline

The county plans to spend up to $2 million on repairs and upgrades to the plant in the next 18 to 24 months. They also estimate they will spend $8 million to $10 million during that same time frame to install water distribution lines to businesses and residents in the extended service area. The county recently sent out requests for proposals for the water distribution project.

The county still plans to install a water tower on the land it owns near the truck stop at I-70 and Route 42, Slane said, to help with water pressure and storage. The three well fields already in place on county land on the other side of I-70 will be viable should the county need them, Slane added.

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