Toronto Council moves forward with water projects | News, Sports, Jobs
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Toronto Council moves forward with water projects | News, Sports, Jobs

WATER PROJECTS, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION — Efforts to improve the city’s water distribution system and a request for public transportation service were before Toronto Council on Monday. — Warren Scott

TORONTO — Toronto Council Monday moved forward with efforts to improve areas of the city’s water distribution system, establishing line items for state funds it hopes to receive for three projects.

Council also heard from a resident petitioning for the Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority to serve the city.

Earlier this month, council authorized Mayor John Parker to apply for up to $1.6 million from the Ohio Water Development Authority to replace water lines in the area of Fifth and Myers streets containing lead.

Toronto is among water providers throughout the nation being ordered by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to replace water lines containing lead and copper following the health crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Parker said the city has removed and replaced some of the lines when breaks occurred, when homes served by them were demolished or hydrants linked to them were replaced.

“We’ve been pretty pro-active on it,” he said.

Parker also is applying for up to $800,000 from the state agency to replace a pump station serving the city’s north end near North River Avenue and Stewart Street and up to $600,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission for the first phase of the Walton Acres water project.

The mayor said if approved, the money will fund the replacement of aging water lines to 25 to 30 homes. He noted line breaks have been a recurring problem in that area.

He said about another $800,000 will be sought in the future for the second phase, which involves about the same number of homes.

Parker said federal money handed down to the state through such legislation as the American Rescue Plan Act has been a boon to such efforts, and he will pursue more if and when it becomes available.

In other business, council heard from Jeanne Popejoy, a resident who said more than 300 people have signed a petition seeking public transportation service in the city through the Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority.

Popejoy said the service would benefit many, including disabled or handicapped residents who need rides to medical appointments and local, small businesses that could draw customers from outside the city.

Council President Frank McEwen told Popejoy that last year the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission asked council to support the SVRTA’s extension to Toronto on a trial basis.

McEwen noted BHJ had planned to seek a federal grant to determine routes and the cost to run them, but the city would need to provide funds for the service to continue afterward.

He said the city currently lacks the money, so it was suggested the service could be supported by a 1.5 mill levy put before voters.

The SVRTA’s service to Steubenville, Mingo Junction and Wintersville is supported by levies in those municipalities.

“Council wasn’t comfortable with trying to pass a levy,” McEwen told Popejoy, adding, “Once we didn’t do that, they kind of walked away from us.”

Council’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m Sept. 12.

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