A feasibility study regarding the potential extension of sanitary sewer service north along the Ohio 104 corridor is moving forward, with an eye toward possible development advantages such a move could provide.
The Ross County Commissioners were successful late last year in obtaining $37,800 in Local Government Innovation Program grant funds for an Ohio 104 sanitary sewer system feasibility study. Tuesday afternoon, Alex Beres, of Columbus-based ms consultants, inc., and Andy Fruehling appeared before the commissioners to update them on the scope of the study.
Discussion regarding the study has been in the works for about a year as partners were lined up, which helped the county secure the LGIP funds. Fruehling said now things move into a discovery phase in which information will be gathered from those who may already offer water and sewer services along the Ohio 104 corridor from Hopewell Culture National Historical Park north to just past the Ross County Airport.
"The project was really just taken on to repair and rehabilitate the Union Heights subdivision wastewater plant, but with that came the thought there may be more we can do rather than just take care of that one spot, there may be some value with developing a plan for the entire corridor," Fruehling said.
Those in attendance Tuesday noted that there are no immediate concerns with the plant other than the fact that it's aging, but that the idea was tied to long-term planning for that facility and for the corridor itself. The Ohio 104 corridor has several advantages for future development, county officials said.
"The airport is a really nice asset," Beres said. "If there is some way of at least taking a look at how a development corridor can get up there, it's just a great asset for the size county Ross is. I've seen a lot of county airports in my time, and that's well-maintained and also the size of it and scope of it is really nice."
Commissioner Steve Neal said the development potential is the exciting part of the feasibility study, especially if it helps in the long-run building the development infrastructure that's needed.
"There's been interest in developing some of the areas around there in the past, but the lack of utilities is what stopped it," Commission President Doug Corcoran said. "Looking at these possibilities is a good thing for us."
Officials also noted the presence of the Ross County Fairgrounds within the scope of the study and the benefit — particularly in the campground areas — of having a sanitary sewer tie-in would aid in attracting more large-scale events like the growing motorcross offerings, Easyrider rodeo, demolition derbies and a Jeep festival that county administrator Brad Cosenza said is being worked on presently.
Beres also said that any plans to build infrastructure, especially along that Ohio 104 corridor where Hopewell Culture National Historical Park is located, could help the area's case for World Heritage Site designation of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks.
Completion of the feasibility study is hoped for in around 90 days.
Photo Credit: By Jason B. - Own work (Original text: self-made), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10961697