South Solon goes after state grants

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(Posted Feb. 1, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The village of South Solon hopes to nab state funding for everything from water and sewer plant upgrades to drainage, street and park improvements.

Mayor Joseph Haney attended the first hearing for this year’s round of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, held Jan. 29 in the Madison County commissioners office.

Administered through the state Office of Community Development, CDBG funds go toward improvements that benefit low- to moderate-income populations. With help from Whitaker Wright of CDC of Ohio, the county’s CDBG coordinator, South Solon officials plan to apply for two types of CDBG funding.

The first is a critical infrastructure grant. With this grant program, a community can apply for up to $500,000 for a single project that focuses on a major repair or upgrade. South Solon’s focus is its water and sewer plants.

According to Haney, both plants need new generators and the auger at the sewer plant needs to be replaced. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency has been urging the village to install water meters.

Applications for critical infrastructure funding are due in June. South Solon officials have already started the process. They completed an income survey in December, visiting 100 homes to determine the percentage of residents with low to moderate incomes. The number came back as 69.7 percent, which makes the village eligible to apply.

The next step, Wright said, is to secure cost estimates for the project. Haney said he is working with an engineer to get those costs. Once the application is filled out, Wright will run it by state officials in a preliminary screening. If the state officials think the application has merit, Wright will file the application and wait to hear if it is funded.

This fall, South Solon will begin work on an application for a second type of CDBG funding–a neighborhood revitalization grant. The application is due in June 2019. In the past, a community could apply for up to $500,000 through this program. Wright said there’s a chance the state will raise the limit to $750,000.

A neighborhood revitalization grant can cover a variety of projects. South Solon officials haven’t pinned down their list, but possibilities include improvements to streets, drainage, fire protection and the park. The money also can be used to tear down houses.

The village of Midway secured a neighborhood revitalization grant last year. (The funding is offered every other year.) Village officials hope to bid out the work this summer and complete most of it this year. Projects include installation of a tornado siren, two new cisterns for fire protection, better drainage on the east side of State Route 38, and a new sidewalk between South and West streets. Repairs are planned for North, South and Broad streets. The park will get a walking path, 12 handicap-compliant parking spaces, and new playground equipment, benches and picnic tables.

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