Saving Amsterdam, Ohio
the Ohio EPA and the Kasich Administration ought to assist this community
Eric LaMont Gregory & Michael Foit
Nestled in the North Western corner of Jefferson County, just east of the Carroll County line, where State Routes 164 and 43 intersect, lies the village of Amsterdam, Ohio. Amsterdam is a small community of some 155 families with a total population of 568 citizens. There are many small villages in this state, and despite our vast wide open spaces, Ohio the 17th state to join the union is the 17th most urbanised state in the United States.
There is an online stream where those who grew up in Amsterdam share their experiences forged in this small village where coal and steel were once the major industries.
Some years ago the Ohio EPA, and this is a familiar story, tested the creeks that flow through Amsterdam, and found unacceptable amounts of bacteria caused by failing septic systems. For this reason, the EPA will not permit any new growth in the village until a waste water treatment plant is built.
The residents of Amsterdam are in a fight with the Ohio EPA for the survival of their village, and a way of life that is as traditional as America itself.
Water treatment plants, even small ones cost millions which the citizens of Amsterdam do not have. The median income for a family is $29,107.
If there was ever a David versus Goliath battle worthy of the name, the fight to save Amsterdam is one of them. Because the citizens are fighting for the ground upon which their homes and lives have been built.
One would imagine that there would be some assistance from Columbus, but there has been none. Perhaps, the Congress, especially from those within its chambers who never miss a chance to bestow the virtues of small town America, but there has been no help from that quarter either.
Help, has come, and this is a familiar story, from an autonomous organisation The Rural Community Assistance Partnership, which puts its backbone into efforts to preserve a uniquely American way of life.
It would be better if the Ohio EPA and by implication the Kasich Administration came on board and did what they can; no, what they ought to do for this community.
Not just because Amsterdam is going to be a survivor, but because this administration needs a success, and Amsterdam is going to succeed.