Federal funds sought for Mt. Sterling, London

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(Posted July 1, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison County commissioners are applying for federal funds—some guaranteed, some not—for improvements projects in London and Mount Sterling.

The funding falls under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, administered by the State of Ohio.

The county is eligible for $110,000 in guaranteed funds through the CDBG allocation program. Work on these projects must be completed by Dec. 31, 2016. Planned projects include:

  • installation of handicap accessible bathrooms at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London;
  • purchase of playground equipment, including spring riders and a bench, for London’s Merrimac Park;
  • purchase of playground equipment for Mount Sterling;
  • purchase of street signs for Mount Sterling to replace the existing signs that date back to the 1950s and ‘60s; and
  • completion of a fair housing analysis.

The county also is applying for $300,000 in neighborhood revitalization program funds for Mount Sterling. These funds are not guaranteed, as other municipalities across the state also are submitting applications. The state will announce grant recipients in August.

Should Madison County receive the funding, the following projects are planned:

  • installation of a walking trail at Mason Park;
  • installation of a basketball court at Mason Park;
  • installation of playground equipment, including a jungle gym, spring riders, outdoor grills, picnic tables and trash cans, at Mason Park; and
  • extension of John Street and installation of a new entrance to the Mount Sterling Community Center.

If the grant funds come through, the village of Mount Sterling is considering matching those funds with $324,800 in local dollars as follows:

  • installation of dugouts at the ball fields at Mason Park;
  • installation of batting cages, donated by Deer Creek State Park, at Mason Park;
  • installation of a veterans memorial on the village square;
  • repaving of Clevenger Street; and
  • demolition of four units of vacant, deteriorated housing.

Additionally, a local company plans to donate the labor to install adult exercise equipment, also donated by Deer Creek State Park, along the proposed walking trail at Mason Park.

Whitaker Wright, who administers CDBG applications and funding for Madison County, said Mount Sterling’s willingness to match funding helps its odds for receiving the CDBG grant.

“They’ve gone above and beyond. It’s one of the nicest applications I’ve seen in a long time,” Wright said. “They took away all of the reasons to say ‘no’ and gave (the state) lots of reasons to say ‘yes.’ ”

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