North Olmsted Planning and Development Director Kim Wenger is seeking a grant to help shed a little light on facility repairs and upgrades.
Wenger is seeking a grant of up to $336,000 from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, which could help the city repair or upgrade different facilities on the City Hall complex off Dover Center Road and the Senior Center and Community Cabin in North Olmsted Park. If approved by NOPEC, the Powering Our Communities grant would allow city officials to upgrade energy efficiency via improved windows, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) doors and lighting at the different facilities.
Wenger said she would have liked to utilize the soon-to-be-done energy audit of city buildings, which is also being paid for via a grant.
“Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right,” she said, noting the study being done via the audit grant won’t be completed until after the deadline for the latest grant which is next Monday.
“We would like to use the information from the audit to seek additional funds for some other major projects, which we’ll be able to pinpoint after seeing the audit itself,” she said. “So, right now, if we receive the NOPEC grant, we’re going to use it pick off some low hanging fruit and deal with problems that we already have information on.”
Wenger said city officials have wanted to upgrade window areas, as well as the HVAC equipment in City Hall and the Senior Center and Community Cabin.
“We’re aware that we could use some help in those areas,” she said. “So, if we can use the funds to upgrade some facilities and replace others, then we’ll see some improvements in energy efficiency and costs in those areas.”
Wenger said depending on the size of any grant received, the city would also improve lighting around the City Hall complex parking lot area.
City officials do not have to provide any matching funds for the grant.
During a City Council committee discussion Feb. 8, Ward 4 Councilman Larry Orlowski said the city should make sure any changes don’t alter the unique design of the Community’s Cabin’s doorway and entrance area.
“Anytime there’s been any discussion about possible changes there, some people get worried that we might lose that area,” he said.
Wenger said the city administration is aware of people’s attachment to the Cabin’s entrance area and would have provisions for maintaining its character in any building upgrades.
Council Finance Committee Chairman Paul Barker said later that the plan would benefit the city.
“If we can get some good cost savings in terms of better efficiency and facilities, then it’s a good move for us,” he said.
Wenger said if the NOPEC grant is obtained, the city could use the work done with it and the energy efficiency audit to making long-term improvements to city facilities.