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Toledo breaks ground on new sewer plant

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The official groundbreaking of Toledo’s new sewer plant, held Thursday. Pictured (left to right) are Greg Zentner, of the Department of Ecology, Stephen Dunk, of the Public Works Board, Connie Rivera, of the Department of Commerce, Toledo City Clerk Michelle Whitten, Dick Larmon, of the Lewis County Economic Development Council, Toledo Mayor Jerry Pratt, Al Bolinger, of the Department of Commerce, and Project Engineer Mike Johnson, of Gray & Osborne.

Local and state officials were present for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Toledo Sewer Plant Thursday to commemorate the construction of an upgrade that has been several years in the making.

While the plant itself is not expected to be complete until mid-2015, city leaders said they are relieved to have made it to this point in the process after spending around seven years seeking out funding sources and planning to ensure the upgrade would be what the city needed.

“I’m thrilled that so many agencies came together for this project,” said City Clerk Michelle Whitten during the ceremony. “They have all helped us so much to see this project through.”

Among those representing the many entities involved in plant construction were Environmental Engineer Al Bolinger and Supervisor Greg Zentner, with the Department of Ecology, Regional Service Coordinator Stephen Dunk and Project Manager Connie Rivera, with the Department of Commerce, and Lewis County Economic Development Council Director Dick Larmon.

“They were very bold in what they did and how they pulled off all the financing,” stated Dunk, commenting on Toledo’s acquisition of $6.4 million in grants for the project last year. “It was really quite impressive.”

These grants, along with an up-to $9.1 million Public Works Trust Fund Loan will be used to complete the sewer plant, which contractors Rotschy Inc. have estimated to cost around $7.4 million, while the total cost of the project, including funds already spent for planning, is estimated to cost around $9.6 million.

“On behalf of the department of ecology, we congratulate you,” said Zentner, of the beginning of Toledo’s project. “We know it’s been a long road and we’re very happy to be able to help, and we wish you all the best.”

Mayor Jerry Pratt said he would like to thank the citizens of Toledo who have worked with City Hall since the planning process, stating he appreciates their understanding, amid multiple rate increases, that this was necessary for Toledo and said he is looking forward to its completion.

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