Township, village, county, state, and federal representatives took part in a ribbon cutting during the commissioning of the Blanchard River Pump Station Tuesday evening - Putnam Sentinel
Township, village, county, state, and federal representatives took part in a ribbon cutting during the commissioning of the Blanchard River Pump Station Tuesday evening. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

GILBOA — In a ceremony both symbolic and highly relevant in real time, dignitaries from throughout the area gathered near Road 3 Tuesday evening to commission the operation of a pump station designed to deliver raw water from the Blanchard River where it courses through the Village of Gilboa to the Village of Leipsic.

Construction of the pump station and seven-mile-long waterline connecting the two villages began in June of 2018 following years of visualising the project and months of negotiations between officials of Leipsic and Gilboa, as well as Blanchard and Monterey Townships, through which the waterline passes. According to Leipsic Village Administrator Justin Barnhart, the impetus for the project came from continued industrial growth within the Village of Leipsic, particularly a $400 million expansion at PRO-TEC Coating Company.

Considered a mutually beneficial opportunity by both communities, the project garnered the attention and participation of a host of local agencies — including the Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation and the Leipsic and Ottawa Area Chambers of Commerce — and was supported financially by both state and federal grants.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by members of the Leipsic and Ottawa Area Chambers of Commerce, the mayors of both villages praised the roughly $10 million investment.

“For the Village of Gilboa, supporting this project was easy to consider given the potential benefits for our community with a higher number of customers for our businesses,” Gilboa Mayor Michelle Clymer said, then referenced one benefit for her village. “Leipsic has responded to the needs of our local residents and showed a long-term commitment to our community with a fire hydrant at the fire station.”

Speaking on behalf of Leipsic, Mayor Kevin Benton waxed effusive with regard to the economic future of the region, and the residents who live here.

“While we have officially stated this will benefit jobs in our area for more than 50 years, we know the capacity can support the Village of Leipsic’s industrial growth far beyond that half century mark.” Benton continued, “there have been many people working on this project in the past decade and this celebration is to commend them for the successful completion of this project.”

The pump station itself — designed by Poggemeyer Design Group and constructed by Kirk Bros. Construction Company and Underground Utilities, Inc., which also laid the waterline — includes three vertical turbine pumps and a smaller pump and pressure tank to service a supply line for the fire hydrant in Blanchard Township.

“Each of the three companies building the project completed their portion under the initial time estimate, and, even more impressively, they came in under the bid amount,” stated Justin Barnhart, Leipsic Administrator. “We are thankful for everyone who funded the project including the federal and state governments, local industry and the willingness of the local school district to support the project.”