Downtown Kenton is the cultural center of our community. It is the place where residents and visitors gather for shopping, entertainment, business, and to get together. However, like many downtowns across the country, Downtown Kenton is built upon infrastructure that is nearing the end of it’s life cycle. This infrastructure is critical for serving Downtown and also the larger network that serves the rest of the Kenton community. The Kenton Downtown capital improvements project is a project to repair the water and sewer lines within the downtown in order to support a thriving, economically successful center of our City.
Why this project? Why now?
The purpose of this project is two-fold. First, this project will upgrade aging and failing infrastructure. Much of the infrastructure in the nine-block area is original and dates back more than 100 years. Recent video surveying has illustrated major failures in the system. These failures are also witnessed through a series of recent water main breaks and other disruptions in service in the downtown area. Another important element is infiltration. The City is experiencing major inflows of groundwater into the system which results in unnecessary strain on the water treatment plant.
The second major factor for why this project is important is the City’s compliance with EPA standards and regulations. Over the past decade, the City has been working with the EPA to correct a series of important upgrades that will bring the City into alignment with current requirements. Without these improvements, the City could face legal challenges from the EPA and jeopardize the City’s ability to secure future funding through various grant and loan programs.
How is this project being funded?
The planning team, including City and County staff, are seeking a range of grants, loans, and other funding options to finance this important project. Phase I of this project received major funding through the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency totaling more than $2 million dollars. To-date, this stands as one of the largest projects to have received funding through these sources. This funding supports implementation of the project without having to rely on local tax dollars.
Who is involved in this effort?
The planning process is being led through a collaborative effort. Key project leaders include the City of Kenton, Hardin County Chamber, and Hardin County Regional Planning, as well as local stakeholders and the community. The planning and design for the project is being completed by OHM Advisors, an interdisciplinary engineering, architecture and planning firm.
What is the timeline for these upgrades?
Construction for Phase 1, which includes S. Detroit Street and S. Main Street from the Scioto River to just north of E. Ohio Street, has begun and scheduled to conclude in late sumer of 2020. Phase 2 will include the area north around the Hardin County Courthouse.