WAPAKONETA — Plans for a new $60 million wastewater treatment plant has had some Wapakoneta residents questioning the fate of the city’s dog park after city council approved the project’s next steps last week.
Wapakoneta Mayor Tom Stinebaugh said the issue had been brought up during council’s last meeting, and rumors in the community since then have inflated dog park concerns since its location is close to the future site of a much larger city-led project — a new wastewater treatment facility.
“We’ve got two years before they even start with construction,” Stinebaugh said. “We’ve got plenty of time to look at the parks. … We’ll be ready to do whatever we need to do, and we want everyone to know the dog park is not going away.”
Stinebaugh said the city has also been in conversations with the Eagle Scout who initially created the park roughly five years ago, and if the city decides to move or relocate it in response to the wastewater project, the young man has agreed to potentially help out in the effort.
Either way, Stinebaugh emphasized that the city will move the dog park if there are any complications.
As for details on the wastewater treatment plant, the City of Wapakoneta is currently in an early planning phase for the new plant as the city begins looking for a construction manager at risk to lead the construction process.
Stinebaugh said the city started the planning for the project in 2019 after Pratt Industries required more water. Now that Pratt is operational, the paper recycling facility currently uses nearly 1 million gallons a day, and Wapakoneta is looking to double its overall wastewater capacity to adequately deal with the new demand.
Plant Superintendent Justin Waid said the plan should also help with an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandate to decrease the number of sanitary sewer overflows, which happen when wastewater facilities are overloaded and flooded.
“From this point until the end of 2021 is going to be a busy year when it comes to planning,” Waid said.
Stinebaugh said the city will be borrowing a low- to no-interest loan via the Ohio Water Environment Association to pay for the $60 million facility, which is scheduled to break ground in spring of 2022.
Preliminary plans estimate the project will include a major expansion of the site south of the facility onto city-owned land currently used by the dog park, and sections of the current treatment plant will be decommissioned in support of what is expected to be the more efficient future plant.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.