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The installation of an emergency alternative water connection, show here from County Road 550N near Miller's Merry Manor, will ensure residents receive water in the event of a primary system shutdown. Submitted

Community improvements can take various forms, some more aesthetic, others enhancing quality of life and some that serve basic needs.

Hope’s $3 million water project fits the latter two categories and has plugged a nagging problem: the loss of 38,200 gallons of water a day.

That’s the reduced amount the town determined it purchased in September compared to September 2015, after all the lines were connected. In a 30-day period, that means saving 1,146,000 gallons of water from seeping out of 80-year-old pipes into the ground.

The replacement of about 14,000 feet of water pipes might seem less of direct benefit to residents because they are hidden underground, especially compared to other community upgrades such as an expanded Yellow Trail Museum, and antique town clock on the historic square or parking renovations.

However, residents should notice a direct benefit in costs taxpayers have to burden.

About half of the necessary project funding has been made available through a $600,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and a $925,000 forgivable loan from the state’s revolving fund.

The improvements to the town’s water system could mean that a proposed second water rate hike could be much smaller, if one is implemented at all. That’s welcome news for those concerned about both the town’s infrastructure and their pocketbooks.

Coupled with new paving over areas that had been dug up for the replacement of old water lines, this project is a win-win for the northeastern Bartholomew County community.