By Amanda Ensinger
Franklin Township received a grant that will help improve roads in the community.
Township officials announced that the area will receive a $2 million grant for improvements on several high traffic roads. The grant is provided by the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) and will be used to rebuild the roads near Havenwood Apartments.
“The roads in this area are bad and it was going to be a very costly project,” said Jim Stevens, road superintendent for Franklin Township. “The roads need a total reconstruction. We did core sampling of the roads to see if it could be repaired, but we found out the roads needed to be completely reconstructed.”
The roads that will be rebuilt are Lincoln Park Court, Nationwide Boulevard and Westport Road, all located within the Havenwood Apartments community.
Stevens said the reason the roads need repaired can be attributed to a variety of factors.
“The roads have been in bad shape for some time,” Stevens said. “I’m sure construction of the apartments didn’t help either.”
Stevens said that the Romney Group, who built and owns Havenwood Apartments, has agreed to help with some of the additional construction costs not covered by the grant.
However, no set amount the Romney Group will contribute has been determined.
The total cost for the project $2.1 million and the grant the township received is for $2 million leaving some funding the township will need to cover. However, the majority of the cost will be secured through the grant.
During construction, Stevens said they will be adding a new feature to the roads that will help with safety.
“We will be adding sidewalks to these streets, something that currently isn’t there,” Stevens said. “Right now, we have asphalt pathways, but people often have to walk in the road or cut through grass.”
Stevens said there are hundreds of units within Havenwood Apartments and many families. Adding sidewalks would make it safer for kids to get on the school bus or for adults to ride the COTA buses.
According to Stevens, this grant is the largest grant the road department has ever received and without it, this project would not be possible.
“This project would not have been feasible without this grant,” Stevens said. “We don’t have the amount of money it would take to complete this project. Without this money, we would have had to repair little sections of these roads.”
Due to increasing expenses for materials, Stevens said the cost of repairing roads increases annually, while the road department’s budget stays flat.
“Within our budget, we don’t have the funds to do everything we would like to do,” Stevens said. “We have to prioritize what projects we can do. While other departments have been able to increase their revenue, the funds we have in the road department has stayed the same.”
Stevens said this is something he plans to address with the trustees in 2019. He anticipates the cost of materials will continue to increase, leaving his department limited on what they can do with the current funds they have.
Construction on these roads will begin after July 1 and is anticipated to continue until 2020.
Stevens says they are currently discussing timing with the Franklin County Engineers and plan to come up with a traffic plan so residents can move in and out of Havenwood during construction.