The continuing effort to gain political support for a water-line project to serve from 53-70 homes in the Garrett Ridge area in Jackson Township of Vinton County is moving forward.

  According to County Commissioner Mark Fout, he and U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s Southeast Ohio Liaison Jamie Barker met at Cross Creek business property on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 12, and drove through the Garrett Ridge area. The terrain is steep and hilly with high elevations. Fout stated their journey painted a clear picture of how a water-line extension project would be a positive use for federal CARES Act funds.

Fout is working with governmental officials to qualify the project as COVID-19 eligible because having a source of safe water could prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Two reasons the project may be an emergency is because of the salt tables and shallow wells in the area. In the current situation, it is not cost-effective or feasible to drill deep water wells because even if fresh water is located, the salt content would eventually tear up the pumps.

Fout reports that Senator Portman is taking an interest in this project and Fout appreciated Barker coming for the on-site inspection.  

The Vinton County Commissioners declared the water-line project to be an emergency during their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The commissioners also have letters of support from the Vinton County Health Department, the Vinton County Local Schools along with an editorial from Total Media. It is still not known if the project would qualify for COVID-19 funding; however, several other types of atypical projects have been approved for CARES Act funding lately so the commissioners are hopeful.

For Commissioner Fout, the issues surround a quality use of federal funds that will have a positive outcome for more than 300 people. 

“The United States is not a Third-World country,” Fout stated. “We should be able to complete this project since there are health and education issues involved.”

Fout is also pushing for the project because it would be a major boost for families who live in the Garrett Ridge area. Fout’s commitment to the youth is evidenced by his 10-year service as president of the Vinton County Junior Fair Board.