Miamisburg last week completed its conversion to soft water as part of a five-year, $70 million water and sewer overhaul funded by a series of annual rate increases. CONTRIBUTED

Soft water, bicentennial cited as milestones in longtime mayor’s last address

And both projects were years in the making, according to Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church Jr.

The city’s conversion to soft water started last year and its completion - part of Miamisburg’s five-year water and sewer master plan work - was announced last week.

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The multi-year project was called by Church, who has served in his position for seven terms and will retire at the end of the year, “the most significant infrastructure work in my career as mayor.”

Providing soft water, Church said, “is probably the most direct benefit to the consumer” of the city’s utility overhaul.

It is being financed by a series of annual customer rate increases and many of the upgrades – started in 2014 - were mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, according to the city.

“Our ambitious set of improvement projects is nearing completion…and should be largely finished by the end of this year,” Church said.

The rate hikes have been a point of contention with many residents. But city officials have said Miamisburg utility rates were artificially low for years.

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“Regular maintenance and improvements are essential for public utilities,” Church said. “Our projects are modernizing the infrastructure…accommodating growth …and making our systems viable for years to come.”

Another project expected to have lasting impact, he said, was the city’s year-long 200th birthday celebration. It consisted of monthly events whose centerpiece was an eight-day extravaganza featuring parades, music and other entertainment spotlighting the city’s heritage and downtown.

“That’s when the Star City’s light shined the brightest for all to see. It was a week in the making for three years,” Church said.

Organizers “were driven to make it a major once-in-a-lifetime event…and it turned out to be just that,” he added.

“It was something that will be remembered locally for years to come…and something I was honored to be part of as mayor.”

Much of the June celebration took place in and around Riverfront Park, where the city last year spent $1.6 million for road and other infrastructure improvements.

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A focal point of downtown entertainment throughout the year, the park annually hosts scores of events and the upgrades ease access between it and the business district, Church said.

Other key road projects on the horizon in Miamisburg include work around the Dayton Mall and the nearby Interstate 75 interchange, Church said.

The city anticipates this year the Ohio Department of Transportation will begin improvements along a one-mile section of Ohio 741 north of the mall, he said.

Work is expected to include asphalt resurfacing, traffic signal upgrades, improved storm drainage and new sidewalks, according to Church.

Improvements to the Ohio 725/I-75 area – which include plans for interchange design new to this area – are planned by ODOT after a safety study, officials said last year.

ODOT is set to fully fund a $4.1 million roadway restructuring – to start in 2023 — using a diverging diamond interchange concept, or DDI, Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District Executive Director Steve Stanley has said.

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