By Amanda Ensinger
A project aimed at improving the entry way to two townships is on hold. Prairie Township and Franklin Township have not moved forward with the proposed I-270 interchange project due to pandemic delays.
The project was to begin in the spring.
“The bid packet on this project is complete, but it was delayed last fall due to approval from ODOT on if statues can be a part of the project,” said Rob Peters, township administrator for Prairie Township. “We then decided to get approval without the sculptures and come back to it later. However, right now we are waiting to hear back from Franklin County Economic Development on if they want to hold on the project this year due to the budget or move forward.”
The West Broad Street and I-270 interchange project would improve the landscaping around the interchange. The project is a collaboration between Franklin Township, Prairie Township, Franklin County, Hollywood Casino, Columbus, Weston Vision and Haydocy Buick.
The project would include adding landscaping, LED lighting over the underpass and sculptures to the interchange. The annual maintenance of the interchange will cost between $30,000 and $60,000 a year and organizers secured eight partners to pay approximately $4,500 to $7,500 each per year for the next 20 years.
Prairie Township officials also wanted to remind residents that all the funds for the CIC Economic Assistance Loan Program are still available for businesses that are interested in applying.
“We posted information about this loan program on the website and sent postcards to businesses in Prairie Township,” Peters said. “So far, only four businesses have requested applications and as of last week, no applications back been sent back. Right now, all the funds for the program are still available if there are any township businesses interested.”
The purpose of the program is to provide financial support to township businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is for any business that was in Prairie Township prior to COVID-19,” Peters said. “The program offers a maximum loan of $5,000 with zero percent interest to be paid back within 36 months. The first payment would be due Jan. 31, 2021.”
According to Peters, loan payments would be due the last day of each month and there is no closing or processing fees.
The township has allocated $147,000 for the program and loans would be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“The purpose of the program is to assist local businesses struggling during the pandemic,” Peters said. “The loan can be used to reopen a business, purchase personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, barriers they need or any other needs they have during these tough times.”
Each company can have one loan and they do not have to take the maximum loan amount.
“We want to do what we can to help local businesses,” Peters said. “Business are struggling, and we want them to know we are here to help.”
Peters said they hope the reason no one has applied for the program is because businesses in the township are doing well and don’t need the funds.
“We think businesses just don’t want to incur new debt and are financially strong,” Peters said. “We still want to continue to make this money available just in case businesses need it. We want to keep township businesses open and be here for them if they are struggling.”