Delta pump station to benefit NatureFresh

By David J. Coehrs -

The NatureFresh Farms greenhouse complex in Delta will benefit from a nearly $1 million federal grant awarded to the village to boost its water infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) notified the village July 31 it had received the $958,885 grant it applied for in January. The funds will assist in building a $3.3 million raw water pump station beside the village’s water treatment plant.

“Thanks to the diligent efforts of local leaders, the Village of Delta will have this significant opportunity,” said Dennis Alvord, EDA deputy assistant secretary for Regional Affairs. “The water infrastructure improvements will help established businesses in the village grow while attracting new businesses and jobs to the region.”

Delta Village Administrator Brad Peebles said the under 500-foot pump station will distribute a raw, untreated water supply for irrigation to Nature Fresh from the village reservoir, under an agreement signed in 2015. The station, which will hold two active pumps and a back-up pump, will be owned, operated, and maintained by the village.

According to the agreement, NatureFresh will pay the remaining project cost after factoring in an additional $1.458 million in grant monies. That includes a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant received through the Fulton County Commissioners in 2017.

NatureFresh’s remaining cost will be repayment of a low interest loan through the Ohio Water Development Authority in Columbus.

The Leamington, Ontario, Canada, company also will have a contractual rate with the village of $1.50 per thousand gallons.

Peebles said the pump station will be a “relatively small footprint” despite its cost. Half the spending will go toward plumbing modifications necessary to draw from the village’s new and old water reservoirs, as well as filling the old reservoir from the new one.

HPH Mechanical Contractors of Toledo provided the lowest bids for both the pump station and water line installation, at $1,932,000 and $403,439, respectively. Peebles anticipates awarding the contracts within the next two weeks.

“I hope to have water to NatureFresh Farms by the spring of 2019,” he announced.

A second prospective pump station customer, Metal X, a $35 million scrap processing facility on County Road 5, has placed discussions on hold for water to control dust. “There are modifications on their part that would have to be made to store and hold the water for their use,” Peebles said.

He said the village’s original agreement with NatureFresh three years ago stalled after the village didn’t receive any bids for the project. “We couldn’t find a contractor that had time to build it,” he said.

NatureFresh plans to build additional greenhouses that will bring 140 jobs to the area. The company did not return calls for comment.

By David J. Coehrs

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.