Bexley City Council is considering a resolution that would authorize the city to apply for $4.89 million from the Ohio Public Works Commission for infrastructure improvements on South Drexel Avenue and Grandon Road.

Mayor Ben Kessler said the city is requesting a $1.22 million grant and a $3.67 million no-interest loan from the OPWC. The projects include:

* Installing new water mains on Drexel Avenue from East Main Street to East Broad Street and on Grandon Road from East Livingston Avenue to East Main Street.

* Extending a storm sewer along Drexel Avenue from East Main Street to Fair Avenue.

City engineer David Koch said the Drexel Avenue and Grandon Road water mains are more than 90 years old and past the useful life of cast-iron water mains, which are designed to last an average of 40 to 50 years.

"We have a long-term plan of changing all water mains in the city ... and this follows on to the next street that we would like to take on," Koch said at council's first reading of the resolution Aug. 27.

There were two water main breaks on Grandon Road in July and August, he said.

"Grandon Road is also in a very poor condition, and the water mains are in a very poor condition," Koch said.

In addition to replacing water mains, the project would be designed to improve water flow to fire hydrants along Drexel Avenue and Grandon Road, Koch said.

"It would also provide enhanced fire (hydrant) flow to the northern part of Drexel Avenue where the Columbus School for Girls campus is located," he said.

If council approves the resolution, the city would move forward with applying for the OPWC grant, Kessler said.

"This is not authorizing the project -- it's authorizing us to apply for grants for the project," he said.

Submitting both the South Drexel Avenue and Grandon Road projects for OPWC funding makes the city's application more competitive, Koch said.

"When they're put together, they actually make the application better for both streets," he said. "In a water-related project, we're given additional points for having a certain number of water services in a certain population area served."

If the city does not receive OPWC funding, it would need to look at alternate sources, including use of the city's water/sewer capital funds to cover the grant portion of the request, Kessler said.

If all things are approved, officials hope the South Drexel Avenue and Grandon Road projects could begin in April 2021, Koch said.

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