(Posted Oct. 28, 2021)
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced on Oct. 26 the first round of water infrastructure grant funding awarded as part of Ohio BUILDS, a new, statewide initiative to help build a stronger foundation for improved quality of life for Ohio’s families and continued economic growth for Ohio’s communities.
The state is investing a total of $250 million in water infrastructure projects through the initiative. The first round of grants awarded $93 million to 54 projects that impact communities in 60 Ohio counties. The remainder of the grants will be awarded in the coming weeks and will ultimately impact communities in every county in Ohio.
“There are few things more important in the world than having plentiful, clean, safe water,” said Husted at a press conference in Plain City.
Plain City is among the communities to receive funding in the first round of grants. The state awarded the village $250,000 for installation of a 10-inch waterline to create redundancy in the village’s water distribution system. The village is supplying $154,000 in matching funds for the project from its water capital fund.
Currently, there is one 10-inch line and one 4-inch line coming from the water plant. If the existing 10-inch line were to fail, a substantial section of the village would lose water pressure, creating a public health hazard and reduced water quality for the area. The new 10-inch line will replace the existing 4-inch line.
“This project is of great importance for the village, and an investment now increases our emergency preparedness and safety to residents in the future,” said Plain City Mayor Jody Carney.
“We’re just excited to see this improvement for the current residents, as well as future residents, because Plain City right now is experiencing a lot of significant growth, especially residential growth,” said David Kell, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
The state’s goal with the Ohio BUILDS grants is to reduce or eliminate the local financial burden associated with critical infrastructure needs such as the construction of new water systems, the replacement of aging water lines, and the installation new water mains. Grants also will fund projects to prevent sewer system backups and replace failing household sewage treatment systems with new sewers.
“These grants are about strengthening our future, our people, and our communities,” DeWine said. “We want our kids and grandkids to stay in Ohio, and clean water is essential to the health and future of our state. Protecting and ensuring that every community in Ohio has access to safe and clean water has been our mission from the start, and with these grants, we are continuing our mission to provide access to economic development tools that will help communities grow and thrive well into the future.”
The new Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grants are a continuation of DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative that launched in 2019 to focus on ensuring plentiful, clean, and safe water for communities across the state. In addition to investing in strategies to reduce algal blooms on Lake Erie and other bodies of water statewide, H2Ohio has also awarded $15 million in grants for water infrastructure projects.
Ohio BUILDS (Broadband, Utilities, and Infrastructure for Local Development Success) will focus not only on water infrastructure upgrades but also broadband expansion, brownfield redevelopment, demolition of blighted buildings and more. The water infrastructure grants announced on Oct. 26 were funded by the Ohio General Assembly as part of House Bill 168, with funding appropriated through the American Rescue Plan Act. Grant programs for broadband expansion, blighted building demolition, and brownfield redevelopment are funded in Ohio’s current operating budget.