By Jeff Gallatin
City officials are ready to nail down a solution to roof problems at the North Olmsted Senior Center.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who also is the likely Democratic frontrunner for the Ohio governor’s race next year, announced the communities receiving Community Development Block Grant funds in a May 22 press conference at the North Olmsted Senior Center. North Olmsted officials plan to start the roof replacement work later this month with the $115,000 the city is receiving and have it completed by July.
Officials from several of the communities receiving grants attended the event. North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy, City Council President Nicole Dailey Jones, Ward 3 Councilman Paul Schumann, planning and development Director Kim Wenger and Senior Center Administrator Jackie Chavez-Anderson were all present for North Olmsted. Fairview Park was the other Westshore city to receive funding, getting $150,000 for a western Lorain Road streetscape project.
FitzGerald said 51 of the 58 communities in the county are eligible to receive the CDBG funds from the county, which must be used for improvements to public facilities, with other cities in Cuyahoga County being eligible to receive the CDBG funds from the federal government directly because of their size.
‘It’s a highly competitive process for the rest of the other cities,” he said.
He praised Kennedy and Jones for their work in North Olmsted, while noting that Jones, a former Ward 3 councilwoman in North Olmsted, had served as his director of communications in the new county government until she returned to municipal government earlier this year when City Council appointed her to the council president’s post, replacing Duane Limpert, who resigned for family and financial reasons.
All the North Olmsted officials were pleased to be receiving the funds.
“It’s something we’ve needed to do in the city for a long time,” Kennedy said. “Now we can get this done.”
Kennedy and Chavez-Anderson credited Wenger for putting together the city application to get the money.
“She’s a rainmaker when it comes to getting money for the city,” Chavez-Anderson said, noting Wenger has put together applications for other senior center and North Olmsted park improvements, like the center doors and interior and nearby playground equipment. “Now we can take care of the leaks with a new roof.”
Wenger said the new roof will add to the other recent improvements at the center.
“The upgrades are definitely enhancing it,” she said. Wenger said city officials are prepared to have the roof work get under way in the next few weeks and plan to have it done by July.
Jones said she appreciates the county support and partnership between governmental bodies.
“It’s good that County Executive FitzGerald and the county understand the needs of different communities,” she said. “It’s also good that they give the local communities the ability to determine what the best projects are within their communities, and the ability to seek and obtain funds to take care of those needs. The people within their communities usually have a pretty good understanding of what they need to get done.”