ONTARIO ─ The City of Ontario is planning to build a wastewater treatment plant at the west end of Nussbaum Parkway, part of the industrial park.
City Council passed a resolution Wednesday evening authorizing Mayor Randy Hutchinson to apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s funding for the project.
Hutchinson said submitting the application is only part of the procedure to get federal grants and loans. No final decision has been made.
“If we change our mind on anything, we can change,” he said.
A 2019 cost analysis by the Poggemeyer Design Group of Bowling Green found Ontario could save between $305,602 and $841,241 per year by 2026 if it had its own wastewater treatment plant. The city has used the City of Mansfield’s service for years.
Ontario Service-Safety director Jeffrey Wilson said the plant’s tentative location is on the city’s property in Ontario Industrial Park. Ontario owns 11 acres of land in that area and the water treatment facility will take less than three acres.
Wilson said the cost of the construction has been estimated at $36 million to $38 million. The city will need to get Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s permission after it secures the funds. Design and construction would follow.
Wilson said building the plant on Nussbaum Parkway would make the project more affordable. The site would be close to Touby Run so the city would not have to build much infrastructure to discharge the processed water into the creek.
A resident asked in the Wednesday meeting if the city is considering building the plant on Home Road, as well. Council President Eddie Gallo said it was conjecture and the city does not own any property on Home Road.
He also said there are flyers and Facebook pages about the project that has caused unnecessary panic and misinformation. The city will offer a public hearing to present all the facts once the gathering restriction is lifted.
“I can tell you that as we sit here tonight, there's nothing imminent that anything is going anywhere. We're just doing our due diligence in considering all the possibilities, and this, of course, is one of them,” Gallo said of the tentative Nussbaum Parkway location.
Hutchinson said the city is working on a letter to answer the community’s concern about the wastewater treatment plant. It will include an email address that residents can use to send in questions. The goal is to mail out the letter with February’s water bill after the council approves it.
The mayor gave his State of the City Address in the first city council meeting in 2021.
He highlighted the progress of the former General Motor plant redevelopment. He said Charter Next Generation will be leasing the former press prep building and begin production of trash bags in early spring. Industrial Commercial Properties, the project’s developer, will build a large building for lease or sale as early as June.
Hutchinson also mentioned that multiple businesses moved into Ontario in 2020, including Emerson Actuation Technologies, which expanded its manufacturing space, creating about 30 jobs.
Hutchinson said the police department had an active year and received its first Re-Accreditation Award. The department kept over 85 percent of the workforce COVID-19 free by cleaning the department two times per shift, modifying shift assignments and wearing face coverings on calls.