(Posted June 12, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison County is applying for federal funding for improvement projects in South Solon, Midway, Mount Sterling and London. Some of the funding is guaranteed, much of it is not.
The applications are for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. Administered through the state Office of Community Development, CDBG funds go toward improvements that benefit low- to moderate-income populations.
This year’s applications are due by June 17. Grant approvals will be announced by late August. Each county receives a certain amount of guaranteed funding. For Madison County, that amount is $170,000 this year. The rest of the funding categories are highly competitive, with municipalities across the state vying for the money.
“In a normal year, these all would be considered very strong applications,” said Whitaker Wright of CDC of Ohio, the county’s CDBG coordinator, about Madison County’s proposed projects.
However, the state is not guaranteeing a certain amount of money for this year’s competitive grant pool. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted finances, Wright said. Additionally, the grant program rolled over some applications to this year that it approved last year but then didn’t have the money to fund.
Bottom line: there might not be as much money up for grabs as in previous years, yet plenty of entities applying for it.
The following are the projects for which Madison County is submitting applications. They were announced during a virtual public hearing held on June 9 during the county commissioners’ meeting.
The county hopes to land $750,000 in CDBG money to address three revitalization projects in South Solon.
The village’s wastewater treatment plant needs an overhaul to make it operate more efficiently. The estimated cost for system upgrades and equipment replacement is $360,300. The village plans to chip in $29,700 from its sewer fund, with CDBG funds covering the rest.
Built in 1950, the village’s water treatment plant needs repairs to the tune of $164,400. Chlorine has corroded the electrical system in the plant’s pumps.
The third project involves repairs to all of North Street and South High Street south of Main Street to the village limit. The estimated cost is $205,000.
North Street is an east-west collector street and is residents’ primary access to village hall where they pay their utility bills. It is in bad shape, Wright said. Flooding has damaged South High Street.
The South Solon revitalization grant application also includes $50,000 in administrative costs.
The county plans to use $25,000 of its guaranteed CDBG allocation for the year to tear down two blighted homes in South Solon–one at 9300 E. Main St. and the other at 13080 S. Washington St. The owners have approved the demolition. Both houses have sat vacant for years.
The east side of Midway sits in a low spot. As a result, water ponds from North Street to Broad Street, flooding residents’ yards and causing septic issues.
The county is applying for $359,400 in CDBG critical infrastructure funds to fix the drainage problem. The plan is to use $39,500 from the county’s guaranteed CDBG allocation as Midway’s local matching funds for the project. If the large grant request is not approved, the $39,500 will go toward demolition of blighted properties countywide.
Mount Sterling hopes to receive $351,600 in CDBG critical infrastructure funds to replace an 8-inch water line on South London Street between Columbus Road and the wastewater treatment plant at the village limits.
“It is so badly incrusted that one of the two hydrants on the line does not work, plus the pressure is low for residents,” Wright said. The line was installed in 1965.
If the grant comes through, the village will pay the estimated $47,600 in engineering costs.
The application includes $30,000 in administrative costs.
Of the county’s guaranteed CDBG allocation, $71,500 will go toward drainage work on the south side of London. Catch basin installation, line replacement, and blockage removal are planned at Wickline and Mound, South and Madison, and Route 56 and Lincoln. The city will provide $20,000 in matching funds.
The remainder of the county’s guaranteed CDBG money will go toward fair housing and administrative costs.