By Bob Weaver

The struggle to get enough customers to move a 21-mile $4 million water project ahead in Calhoun is over.

With the deadline yesterday, Mt. Zion Public Service District secretary Wilma Mace said 150 customers have signed, the minimum number to secure funding.

"We made it right at 150," Mace said, after PSD members went door-to-door to get the needed signatures.

It had been slow going for several months.

The scope of the project was down-sized from 183 customers to 150, after a re-count was done on houses along the proposed line.

Mace said a few applications are still out, with the PSD still accepting them. "It's not too late, right now," she said, indicating getting water after the project is launched could be a more expensive deal.

The long sought project will bring public water to Rt. 16 south of Arnoldsburg-Chloe and to Millstone, Sand Ridge, Sassafras Ridge and Russett.

Engineer Jim Hildreth said the 21-mile, $4 million package is about 80% grants with a 20% loan, "Something we're highly unlikely to see again," a mostly taxpayer supported project.

Signers have been asked to pay a $100 tap fee and agree to get water for three years. The average water bill would be about $26 a month, said Mace.

The first efforts toward expanding Mt. Zion PSD services was 12 years ago when a feasibility study was done for Sand Ridge-Sassafras Ridge.

The current project was launched by the Mt. Zion PSD and the Calhoun Commission nine years ago.

Beyond providing drinking water, the project will raise property values, help reduce fire insurance premiums because of the closeness of fire hydrants and improve the chances for development in the 21st century.

Contact Mace regarding services at 304-354-6822.