A group discusses Dublin town priorities as part of the Feb. 28, 2023 Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program meeting. Photo by Mike Emery

Council receives preliminary engineering plan for comprehensive water utility project

Joan Casey said she attended Dublin’s Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program public meeting to listen and learn.

She learned that water infrastructure, housing, streets and sidewalks are priorities for the 11 people, including town council members and town employees, participating in the Feb. 28 session.

“I wasn’t aware of some of the issues, and that’s why I came,” said Casey, who lives on a farm west of town.

The meeting was the fifth of seven to receive resident input into how Wayne County communities participating in HELP should spend their American Rescue Plan Act dollars. HELP assists with identifying projects for immediate funding in Wayne County, Cambridge City, Dublin, East Germantown, Economy, Milton, Richmond and Spring Grove.

The next meeting is 7 p.m. March 8 in the Economy town building. Cambridge City has moved its 6 p.m. March 13 HELP session and town council meeting to Lincoln High School’s cafeteria (use the school’s rear entrance).

At meetings, residents are asked to answer three questions on a survey form that’s then collected. They also discuss their priorities in small groups.

Wayne County residents are encouraged to fill out surveys even if they don’t attend any of the meetings. Online surveys are accessible at https://pcrd.purdue.edu/WayneHELP and paper copies are available inside all Wayne County public libraries through March 13.

“I’m a retired teacher, so I haven’t been involved with any of this, and so I wanted to come and see if I couldn’t be a part of it,” said Casey, who moved to the area from Delaware County during the mid-1970s. “I learned a lot.”

Dublin received $169,292 in ARPA money. Its HELP participation requires it to commit 30%, or $50,787, to projects identified through the HELP process. Each town will make the final decision about how it spends its money.

The 11 participants divided into two discussion groups during the HELP portion of the town council meeting. The first group, of which Casey was a member, wants community growth through attractive housing, a park and good water quality. The second group selected streets and ancillary items such as signs and sidewalks as another town need.

Overall, water infrastructure was identified as the top priority, which should be no surprise.

When the town council meeting resumed, council members and town staff received Commonwealth Engineering Inc.’s preliminary engineering report for a comprehensive water utility project. The report breaks the project into phases for council’s consideration.

CEI recommends constructing a new $1.5 million water plant as the initial priority. Rob Bellucci of CEI said the town’s water supply would only become a health hazard if the current building, which he said has large cracks, or a well collapses. Other issues, such as storage, pipes and meters, could be addressed after building a new plant.

Council must now select what parts of the plan the town should pursue and in what order. The town can then pursue grants and loans for funding.

Council set a March 7 special meeting to decide how the town should proceed. That provides advertising time to conduct a March 28 public hearing about the project.

At the Feb. 28 meeting’s beginning, a single bid was received and opened for the town’s 2023 Community Crossings road projects. The town was awarded a $248,256 grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation for paving.

Milestone bid $314,302, and the bid was taken under advisement.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 8 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.