Mt. Sterling: No out-of-pocket cost for new water tower

(Posted Feb. 1, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Mount Sterling has secured the last piece of funding needed to replace its 100-year-old water tower at no cost to the village.

On Jan. 30, Andy Drake, village council president pro tem, announced that the Ohio Public Works Commission recently awarded Mount Sterling a $440,000 grant to go toward the cost of building a new water tower.

As of last spring, the estimated project cost was $1.37 million. Village leaders were determined to fund the project with little to no debt, so they went after grants and other outside funding sources. The result: Mount Sterling will pay nothing out-of-pocket for the new water tower.

“This is really, really great news,” Drake said. “It says a lot about how far Mt. Sterling has come, and maybe says a little bit about we have a ways to go. But it is, without a doubt, a vote of confidence in us, that this village is looking up and we can get things done.”

Last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a grant to cover 75 percent of the water tower project which amounts to approximately $1 million. The village also set aside $187,000 in American Rescue Plan Act money they received as part of federal COVID-19 relief funds. The $440,000 from Ohio Public Works takes the funding total over the $1.37 million project estimate.

Drake praised Courtney Bricker, village clerk, for her work on tracking down and applying for the grants. He said it was not a simple task. He also praised village leaders and staff for getting the village’s finances in order, setting a “common sense” budget, setting aside the COVID-19 relief money, and pursuing “free” money in the form of grants.

With funding in place, the next phase of the water tower project is engineering and design. The village also will find out if or how inflation has impacted project costs. Overall, the project will take two to three years to complete, Drake said.

Housing growth
In other discussion at the Jan. 30 council meeting, Drake reported that Mount Sterling ranks ninth for housing growth among central Ohio villages, as reported in Columbus Business First. Last year, Mount Sterling ranked 13th.

“We are moving up the list, not going down the list. This is a thing that we should be proud of,” he said. “We are setting the example for larger cities, not just villages, as to what it means to do affordable housing and to get people in here.

“This means that more people are selecting Mount Sterling as a place to call home, raise a family, put down roots.”

Mount Sterling offers a great climate in which to do business, too, Drake added.

“To comment on one thing the mayor (Marci Darlington) has been saying quite a bit: Come watch us grow. Come see us grow. We are open for business,” he said.

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