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Board discusses infrastructure expansion to Route 18

Grant would be needed to pay for it

Extending infrastructure lines (water and sewer) from the south edge of Lostant southward along Route 251 to the Route 18 intersection is under consideration by village officials.
Extending infrastructure lines (water and sewer) from the south edge of Lostant southward along Route 251 to the Route 18 intersection is under consideration by village officials.

LOSTANT — Lostant’s water and sewer expansion southward along Route 251 to the corner at Route 18 needs a company ready to move in before a grant can be received, and a group of residents believes they can help find one.

The Lostant Village Board meeting was attended by Hank Grothen, Carol Grothen-Hetrick, Eric Anderson and Rhonda Marty-Anderson in a show of support for the water and sewer expansion, but also in an attempt to verify that the village would stand behind the infrastructure plans.

“When I saw it in the paper, I was very impressed,” Grothen said of the village’s intent to bring water to the corner at Route 18. “I just didn’t have faith in the village.”

This lack of faith stems from a previous occurrence in Lostant, wherein Grothen had been working to develop a property for FS, but the infrastructure plans fell away after FS dropped its own plans. Had the infrastructure expansion remained in the equation, Grothen maintains he would have kept going and found another entity to set up there.

Obtaining a grant to further water and sewer infrastructure out to the corner is more complicated than initially hoped. Village President Jack Immel described the village’s initial hopes as getting money to build the infrastructure, which would then entice businesses to the corner, what he termed a “build it and they will come” process.

“Unfortunately, there is no money for ‘build it and they will come,’” Immel said.

Instead, he found that a grant would require a guaranteed turnkey operation that would employ around 30 individuals at minimum: “It has to be a quick, immediate type situation,” Immel said.

The project cost was estimated at just under $1 million, and obtaining engineering plans was quoted at 6 percent of the overall cost. “Six percent of that is $60,000, just to get the plans,” Immel said.

However, he said that the grant money is available, but the village would need a company meeting the requirements, willing to sign the papers.

If such a company did so with the expectation of being able to move in in six months, Immel said, “I guarantee you we’d have water and sewer out there in those six months.”

Grothen suggested he would be able to find a company that would set up shop at the corner, but he needed to know the village would not back out of the plans: “I will be willing to pursue it as long as I know I can count on you to work with us.”

“Yes, we’re interested; yes, we’re willing to work; and, yes, we’re doing the best we can,” Immel said.

“And, yes, we’ll work with you,” Grothen said.

In other news:

• The village has found issuing dog tags redundant to the existing county program. The village still needs dogs registered.

• Tonica Telephone intends to bring in fiber. While the plan does not currently involve residential, Immel expects they might branch into that area if there is enough interest.

• “We still haven’t flushed any hydrants,” Immel said, but that process needs to be worked through. “We’re talking August now, September. We don’t want them skating down there.”

• The village is unable to set a 30-year payment period for the water tower, but was able to negotiate up to 25 years.

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