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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer

“Pardon our dust ... again!”

The following is one in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.

ODESSA, March 12, 2024 -- After five long years of hard work Odessa is finally starting on our new water system! The process began in 2019 with a USDA-RD Planning Grant to study the system and determine the real requirements to fix our water. We hired JHA Companies, a top tier engineer firm out of Pennsylvania, to lead the charge for us. JHA and I worked together on the $40,000 Planning Grant that was instrumental in qualifying for the USDA-RD funding package of $9.9 million we received. The planning grant not only identified the issues but gave us the justification to qualify for funding.

Odessa was awarded 51% as grant and 49% as long-term funding. Additionally, we worked hard with RCAP Solutions to apply for and receive $2.99 million in additional grant funds that can be applied to the funded portion of the USDA-RD commitment, thus reducing our long-term obligation. We are in great shape thanks to the hard work of a lot of people working on behalf of Odessa. These projects do not happen overnight and there is a lot of competition for funding, but we won the fight.

We also worked with G&G Consulting and Jay Grasso, who conducted an income survey for Odessa. The results of the survey were submitted to New York State, and based on our average income level, we were approved for 0% interest on our long-term funding!

Phase 1 will begin March 25th and will replace over 16,000 feet of water lines throughout the Village. That's over three miles! All the 1938 unlined iron water lines will be replaced. Water lines replaced in 1999 will not be redone. Along these new lines we will have all new fire hydrants and larger pipes to increase volume and pressure. We expect Phase 1 to be complete by the end of summer. They will start at the well house on Merchant and Speedway, working down Merchant to Main Street and then do all Main Street. Once Main Street is done they will move on to all the other streets throughout the Village. This alone will almost fully address the brown water issue. We do expect a few weeks after completion of Phase 1 to bleed out all the remaining goo as we push water through and flush it out of the hydrants.

After the water lines are completed on Main Street, the contractor, Vacri Construction, will re-do all the sidewalks on Main Street, including all the way to the bus stop. It will include bump out parking and several new crosswalks, all to help slow traffic. Main Street will look fabulous!

DPW and Andy, the foreman for Vacri, will be working with each homeowner on the new lines, to replace your water service right into your house. Please work with them to give you a new service! All we need is access to your basement to get your new line hooked up. As part of new federal regulations, these old lines must to be replaced to ensure lead was not used and if so, eliminated.

Phase 2 will begin later in the summer once we receive bids back for the new water treatment plant. The new plant will sit on our property where the current well building is. We will use all three wells to increase water flow, and the modular system can grow if needed and be adjusted to meet Department of Health requirements far into the future for generations to come. The treatment plant will take about 15-18 months to complete. It is a complicated process.

We are proud of this project and very happy to put an end to the nasty water issues in Odessa. I would like to thank Pam Kelly, our Clerk/Treasurer, Tom Becker of USDA-RD, Travis Long and all of JHA Companies, Jeff Smith and all of Municipal Solutions, Catherine Rees of RCAP Solutions, Jay Grasso of G&G Consulting, the entire NYS Department of Transportation Team, Village Attorney Guy Krogh, the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation Teams and Vacri Construction for all their help and support to make this project possible.

Unfortunately, we were not awarded the Forward NY Grant, a mini-DRI to do work on Main Street. We may compete again if we think we can improve our application to be more competitive. It will be another 12-18 months before construction of the Cotton Hanlon Bridge can begin. There are issues with availability of steel for the project as well as some legal issues to be sorted out by DOT before work can begin. That bridge was built in 1928 and is in terrible condition.

There is a lot going on in Odessa, and your entire Board is working hard for you to do the best we can to help revitalize our little Village and continue to make it a place where people want to live, work and play.

Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer.

To see Mayor Messmer's first column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's second column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's third column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fourth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fifth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's sixth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's seventh column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's eighth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's ninth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's tenth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's eleventh column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's twelfth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's thirteenth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fourteenth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fifteenth column, click here.



© The Odessa File 2024
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869