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Published: Wednesday, 12/11/2002

Pipeline project gathers support

BY JACK BAESSLER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A 3.2-mile pipeline project to bring safe water to Jerusalem Elementary School will move forward now that a majority of the affected property owners have signed statements supporting it, Lucas County officials said yesterday.

More property owners along the waterline route stepped forward in October and November to sign letters pledging to help pay for the line, John Gilliland, administrative assistant for business affairs for Oregon City Schools, said.

The Oregon school with about 360 pupils has been without drinkable tap water for almost two years, its well contaminated with bacteria.

Turning points for support among residents were a $500,000 grant to help pay for the line and an Oct. 29 meeting in Jerusalem Township that spelled out details of how residents can pay their assessments, he said.

As of Sept. 30, only 26 percent of the affected property owners had given their support to the project. The number of signers rose to 52 percent about three weeks ago, Mr. Gilliland said.

The $1.3 million project will construct a 16-inch diameter line that would extend Oregon city water along State Rt. 2 from North Curtice Road to the school on Yondota Road.

At its Nov. 19 meeting, the Oregon board of education signed a contract with an engineering firm to complete a land survey needed for the project at a cost not to exceed $20,400.

“It is on a fast track,” Mr. Gilliland said. “Our goal is to have the line in place for the start of the next school year.”

Jim Shaw, director of the county's public service department, said the grants are expected to reduce the homeowners' cost of the line to about $20 a front foot. The cost would have been upward of $35 a front foot without them, he said.

Jerusalem Township Trustees have committed $65,000 to the project and county commissioners recently passed a resolution of intent to contribute $100,000 from economic development funds, Mr. Shaw said.

Several important procedural measures still must take place. When the land survey is done, separate notices about the planned water line must be sent to agricultural owners and to homeowners. A public hearing will be held and final action on it must be taken by the county commissioners, Mr. Shaw said.



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