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Pickerington to divide funds for community group donations
If you're an organization and need to ask the Pickerington City Council for cash, plan on attending the next Finance Committee meeting on Feb. 3.
The council set aside $40,000 in the 2010 budget for community donations, but has not yet divided the funds, Councilman Jeff Fix said.
At the Jan. 20 Finance Committee meeting, Mark Matthews, on behalf of the Violet Festival, asked the city for a $12,500 donation.
"We need monetary help to keep going," Matthews said. "We draw more people to Pickerington than any other single event."
The Violet Festival benefits other community groups who use the event for fundraising including the boy scouts, school boosters, the food pantry and the city's own DARE program, Matthews said.
Fix told Matthews that the committee could not grant the festival such a large donation without first considering the requests of other groups in the community.
Mayor Mitch O'Brien said he knew the Olde Pickerington Village Association planned to request money, and Councilwoman Cristie Hammond said she knew that the Lion's Club was also seeking a donation.
Matthews said the Violet Township Trustees had already donated $5,000.
Councilman Brian Wisniewski told Matthews that the Finance Committee would match the trustees' donation, but that the city could not promise more until it considered the needs of the other groups.
Councilman Brian Sauer asked Matthews if the Violet Festival would consider charging admission.
"For the showcase band, I would happily pass over $5 for admission," Sauer said.
Matthews said the festival organizers have considered charging admission.
In 2008, the city donated $12,500 to the festival, but in 2009, cut all funding, Matthews said.
The organizers began the 2009 festival with a $20,000 surplus, but the economy, rain and no city support caused the event to lose money, Matthews said.
The festival's surplus dwindled to $5,000, Matthews said.
Long Road improvements
Following the finance committee meeting, the service committee considered a proposal to improve Long Road with sidewalks, curbs, bike paths, trees and storm drains.
City Engineer Greg Bachman presented the first stage of his plan to redesign Long Road from Diley to Hill Road.
The project would widen the street and add bicycle lanes similar to what already exists on Columbus Street east of downtown, Bachman said.
Gutters and storm drains would replace the current flood-prone ditches, Bachman said.
The council's strategic plan ranked sidewalks near schools as a priority and the Long Road project would enable children to walk safely to Pickerington Elementary, Bachman said.
The first phase would extend from Diley Road to Colony Park and cost $1.14 million, Bachman said.
Funding for the project could come from the city's storm water fund, which this year should equate to $400,000, Bachman said.
Wisniewski said he liked the idea, but funding was an issue.
"There is only so much (that can be taken) out of the storm water fund because it is not all a storm water project," Wisniewski said.
Wisniewski told Bachman to return to the service committee with more creative funding options such as grants.
Bachman said he would research other funding sources, but he couldn't guarantee grants.
"If you don't think we can do the complete street, then I recommend we don't do the project," Bachman said.
If the council approves Phase I, then Phase II would continue from Colony Park to Columbus Street, Phase III would extend the remainder of the way to Hill Road, and Phase IV would cover the portion of Columbus Street from Long Road to Diley, Bachman said.
The project requires a 60-foot right-of-way, but Bachman said the city owns most (if not all) of the 60-feet already.
Eventually, Bachman said he plans for the bike lanes to extend to Pickerington Ponds.
In other business, Bachman said he would soon propose that the city add a third southbound lane on S.R. 256 from the Marcus Cinema to Refugee Road.
The Service Committee also chose the water spheroid tank from the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company as the design for the city's new water tower.
The $1.74-million tank resembles a golf ball on a tee and will be erected near the police station, Bachman said.
The tank will provide more pressure to the fire hydrants on the north portion of the city, Bachman said.
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