JEROMESVILLE -- Jeromesville intends to utilize an estimated $111,000 in pandemic recovery funds to restore the village's waterlines, mayor Randy Spade told Ashland Source.
Upon receiving the funds, the community hopes to begin the replacement project within the next year.
Spade attributed the realization for new waterlines to the recent fire that destroyed a Main Street structure in March.
“If you’ve ever been to or worked in small communities, infrastructure is the most important, critical thing," Spade said. "I didn’t fully appreciate how important water was until the fire; I was literally standing in the water plant praying that our water system could take 12 fire departments draining the water and putting out that fire, which was something we haven’t dealt with in 100 years.
"At that moment, I thought, ‘The next project we do is going to be the waterlines.' ”
Three days later, Jeromesville received a report that the village would be receiving the pandemic recovery funds.
Spade estimates the last time the waterlines were completely restored was in the 1930's. The project is an expensive and lengthy undertaking, but is necessary to the future of the community.
“It’s a long process," Spade said. "We’re working with the Ohio Rural Water Association to see if we can leverage those funds into a bigger fund from the Ohio Public Works Commission -- to see if we can help get some funding that way for the project as well.
"They have grants and loans for a project that size that we hope we would qualify for.”
If Jeromesville does not receive assistance from the Ohio Public Works Commission, it plans to utilize the $111,000 as well as an additional $50,000 in the community’s water improvement fund to renovate as many waterlines as possible.
Once the funds are secured, the village intends to begin the replacement project as soon as possible.
“We’re going to be responsible about it," Spade said. "When you look at those dollars and how they could be spent, there is nothing that is going to last longer than our water system.
"It’s going to be something that this community needs.”