Zaleski village government leaders have set two major goals for the 2018 calendar year - replacing water lines and finding a convenience-store operator.
These two items are on the top of the village's wish list for 2018, Mayor Craig Walkerow related in an interview with The Telegram. The mayor explained both projects are important to the future of the community and the village council also wants to move on them.
As for the water lines, Walkerow said the village is still using the original lines and he noted they have become old and inefficient. The village wants to begin the process, he says, of finding grant funding options to replace them. He hopes to do it in a single project if possible.
In recent years, the state has been pushing local communities to submit larger projects so he is hopeful the village's water-line replacement project will be funded. New lines would cut down on leaks and help the village's water department operate more efficiently. The village already has a new sewage treatment system in place.
As far as the convenience store project is concerned, the mayor explained the village will again be scouting for operators and sending them out an official information package. It includes a traffic count, demographics, and utility information along with Lake Hope State Park visitor information. Walkerow would also like to have the Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 Office conduct a new traffic count because he feels the current one is too low.
Additionally, he points out the county is close to signing a deal with a solar company that would have 400 construction workers working on Infirmary Road, just outside the village for at least a year. Also, there are 300 workers at the nearby Austin Powder Plant who may come into the village if there is a convenience store operator there along with the estimated one million tourists each year who visit Lake Hope State Park and the Moonville Tunnel.
Walkerow also announced the village's police department will be operational soon as the effort to build a better overall community and a tourism-based economy continues.
Mayor hopes voters approve levy next time
The failure of the Village of Zaleski's Current Expenses Levy in the recent general election was predictably a disappointing result to Mayor Craig Walkerow. The issue finished in a 41-41 tie and a tie amounts to a defeat as an issue must receive majority support.
However, he noted the levy was put on the ballot a year ahead of time and that the old levy will still continue for another year, so the revenue is not yet lost. Village leaders plan to try the levy again in the upcoming primary election.
Walkerow explained that while the levy was labeled "Current Expenses," the money is actually used to pay for street-lighting expenses.
Walkerow stated he plans to speak to the Vinton County Board of Elections to see if the words "Street Light" can be used in the levy language on the ballot when the issue is put before voters again.
"I think that will make a difference with some people," said the Mayor. "We are hopeful it will pass."