Mt. Sterling nabs big grant for new water tower

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(Posted April 13, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The village of Mount Sterling has secured a federal grant to cover 75 percent of the cost to erect a new water tower.

The village’s current water tower is approximately 100 years old. Village leaders looked into repairing or replacing the tower and ultimately decided replacement made the most sense.

“It has served us well, but it is time for a new one,” said Andy Drake, village council member.

He noted that the village recently completed upgrades to the water and sewer plants. The water tower is the last big piece of that puzzle, he said.

The estimated cost of a new water tower is $1.37 million. The village has been looking for state and federal grant dollars to help cover project costs. They recently received word that their application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was accepted. The corps will cover 75 percent of the project cost which, based on the current estimate, amounts to just over $1 million.

The village needs to come up with the other 25 percent. They plan to cover part of that amount with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Passed in March 2021, ARPA was designed to provide financial support to state and local governments through the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of the act’s allocation goes to infrastructure spending. Mount Sterling’s $187,000 in ARPA funds have been earmarked for the water tower.

That leaves roughly $155,000.

“We will be going back and talking with council and anybody else we need to about how we’re going to close that gap,” said Drake, adding that the village wants to avoid borrowing money, if possible.

“We have a ways to go. This thing is not built yet. But the point that I’m trying to make is that you can start to see things rolling, and that is very, very exciting,” he said.

With more than 80 percent of the funding covered, the village can move forward with the engineering phase of the project. Drake expects that will take roughly a year. The hope is to see construction on the tower started in 2023, he said.

Drake thanked Courtney Bricker, Mount Sterling’s fiscal officer, for the work she did in preparing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grant application.

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