MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to pay between $28,000 and $40,000 for materials tied to a new, six-inch water line that will serve a planned Knox County 4-H Activity Center.
County-paid material costs will cover a main portion of the new line, which will start alongside a pond next to the Knox County Fairgrounds and travel uphill about 2,000 feet on Perimeter Drive. The six-inch line is needed to provide the strength of flow necessary for a fire sprinkler system in the 4-H Activity Center. An adjacent landowner and business owner, Isaac White, is being asked to pay close to $22,000 for his portion of the overall new water line that will tie in from Wooster Avenue and end at the pond by the fairgrounds.
A consensus was reached among the county commissioners, county 4-H representatives, and the city of Mount Vernon to proceed with one of three project proposals for the new water line. Materials for “option 2” — including steel pipe mostly at 6 inch size — will cost just under $62,000. 4-H board members are hoping to receive in-kind donations of labor equipment to lower overall costs of building the water line.
Mount Vernon City Engineer Brian Ball said the new water line will create new customers for the city. There will be a total of eight new fire hydrants, which will please the city Fire Department as their units are more comfortable hooking into hydrants than filling up their tankers at the pond, he added.
Ball also said the new water line is badly needed because previous water lines serving the area near Wooster Avenue and Perimeter Drive were on property owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which ran a school before the property was divided up and sold a few years ago. At one time, the church property’s water lines were losing 1 million gallons of water every billing cycle, or every three months.
The 6,400-square-foot Knox County 4-H Activity Center project, which is expected to see excavation work begin around April, includes a basement equivalent in size to its main floor, said Mark Bennett, a county 4-H board and Planning Committee member. It will have eight rooms in which to have 4-H meetings and other meetings to meet public demand. The previous building, used for such meetings and offered by the Landers family, on West High Street, saw between 400 and 500 meetings per year. It had two large rooms and two smaller rooms.
“We simply outgrew it and needed additional meeting room space,” he said.
The cost of the new 4-H Activity Center is estimated at $850,000, Bennett said — not including the new water line costs, which are separate. The building price had been projected at $750,000. The activity center will be located on 10.5 acres near other 4-H buildings close to the fairgrounds. Bennett thanked the county and the city of Mount Vernon for being so supportive of the project and offered that an effort has been made to be “spot-on” with projected building costs. Donors have been generous so the fundraising so critical to success has gone well, he offered.
“We’re on board,” County Commissioner Thom Collier said. “We want to see this come to fruition.”
In other matters, commissioners:
•Approved an increase of direct client assistance from $100,000 to $160,000 for Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland Community Action. The increase amends a contract between Knox County Jobs and Family Services and Kno-Ho-Co that runs from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019. Social services provided by Kno-Ho-Co include serving people in need with HEAP, the Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps them pay their electric and gas bills.
•Authorized County Commissioner Teresa Bemiller to submit her online signature in order to accept a state Department of Transportation Ohio Bus and Bus Facilities 2019 Subaward Grant Agreement. The grant provides $270,212 in federal funds, which will be used to purchase for Knox Area Transit an expansion van, a replacement van, cameras for placement aboard buses and radios.
•Approved a Community Development Block Grant agreement for Everlasting Cup, LLC, in the amount of $496,500. Everlasting Cup, a business planning a coffee shop and bakery, will access the money through a state program known as the Revolving Loan Fund, County Administrator Jason Booth said. The program emphasizes job creation and has a 10-year payback period for the loan. As the loan is paid back, those funds are used to pay for new Revolving Loan Fund projects, he said. Everlasting Cup will be located in an existing building on Main Street, formerly the site of a car dealership. A Revolving Loan Fund project was completed last year for Stein Brewing Co. in downtown Mount Vernon.