GALLIPOLIS - Completion of a long-delayed project and the beginning of two others are among the most significant stories of 2005.
In Tuesday's edition, the editorial staff reviewed numbers eight through 10 of the stories likely to have the biggest, farthest reaching impact on our area.
Today, we have included three more:
7. In 2001, Gallipolis city leaders started work on a project that was wrapped up this past October. The project to bury power lines in 2-1/2 Alley ended after years of delays and more than $300,000.
On Oct. 19, American Electric Power started switching buildings that line the alley over to a new underground system. Work was reported complete during the city commission's Nov. 1 meeting.
The idea for the project developed after the August 2001 Haskins-Tanner fire, during which firefighters were hampered by the old, above-ground utility wires strung through the alley. City leaders have said that the new underground system will make the area safer.
6. This year, the Gallipolis City Commission signed a contract that is already yielding numerous infrastructure improvements. In September, Ameresco Energy, Inc., started a flurry of activities in the city designed to produce energy savings.
The agreement is an overall energy-savings, infrastructure improvement plan. Ameresco projects $4.7 million in savings during the next 10 years.
The savings detailed in the plan will be used to secure bonds that will be sold to financial institutions. Money from the bonds will be used for the infrastructure improvements, and the savings will be used to repay the bonds.
The improvements include replacing the city's 3,000 water meters, installing more energy efficient lights in the park and in traffic signals, construction of a sidewalk at the parkfront, installation of a new generator at the maintenance garage and new energy efficient pumps at the sewer plant.
The plan also includes locating leaks in the sewer system, which will be repaired next year. Additionally, this fall, the city pool was sandblasted and coated with a lining that is guaranteed to last the life of the structure.
5. More than a decade after it was first discussed, the Gallia County Commission decided on Dec. 22 to relocate the Gallia-Meigs Regional Airport. They chose a tract of land off Watson Road, hear the junction of U.S. 35 and Ohio 850 for the new airport.
It will take an estimated 10 years to complete the project. The county must commission environmental and other studies, purchase the land and seek funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the project.
Although the project has a long way to go officials have said that a new airport will improve the transportation infrastructure for the entire region, and could develop into an air hub for cargo and passenger service.
In Thursday's edition, the editorial staff will review numbers two through four of the most significant stories of 2005.