By Jeff Gallatin
City administration and council officials are moving forward on a pair of grant applications designed to enhance two key areas of North Olmsted – Country Club Boulevard and North Olmsted Park.
City Council was expected to hear and give final approval on suspension to both at its regular meeting last night. Both were recommended at the March 13 committee sessions.
For Country Club Boulevard, the city is again going to Cuyahoga County to seek Community Development Block Grant funding for Phase II of the Country Club Streetscape and Safety Enhancements project for the 2012 fiscal year. The city already received one county CDBG grant for Phase 1. The work is designed to improve the appearance and use of Country Club Boulevard via improvements and upgrades.
For North Olmsted Park, city officials are seeking funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency from its Surface Water Improvement Fund. Grants up to $200,000 are awarded by the state to local governments, park districts and conservation organizations for “innovative” stormwater management projects. If approved, North Olmsted officials plan to use the funds for a parking lot design of a portion of the parking area at North Olmsted Park.
Kim Wenger, planning and development director for the city of North Olmsted, said obtaining grants has been a major help in moving North Olmsted forward in recent years.
“Over the last several years, the grants the city received have enabled us to carry our projects we would not have been able to do otherwise in those difficult economic times, such as the first phase of Country Club Boulevard and our City Hall campus parking improvements,” she said. “The mayor’s approach to grants has been to leave no stone unturned. Even as the economy improves, if you can identify a grant source to meet a community need, that helps to reduce the burden on our taxpayers and stretches our budget to accomplish more in the city.”
Wenger said she asked council to pass both pieces of legislation on suspension because the grant applications are due in the next few weeks. Then, if granted approval, the city could get a quick start on at least the preliminary work later in the year.
Because the city already has gotten a CDBG grant, which it utilized for Phase 1 of the Country Club Boulevard improvements, Wenger said the city hopefully stands a better chance of getting a grant for Phase 2, and ultimately, Phase 3. She said the maximum amount the city can get for this grant is $160,000.
“You would hope that they would like to see us follow through and get all the work done in the next few years,” she said.
Referring to the stormwater grant, Wenger said she’s being a little more cautious in seeing whether or not the city can get the funds, since it’s a newer grant and proposal.
Wenger said the portion of the lot the city would use it for could use an upgrade. She said it would benefit groups such as senior citizens who come to the senior center, as well as people coming to the Community Cabin and the rest of the park.
Paul Barker, chairman of City Council’s Finance Committee, said the projects would benefit the city.
“Kim does a very good job in picking out projects which will help the city in key areas,” he said. “Doing Phase II of the Country Club Bouelvard project will aid an area that’s part of the heartbeat of North Olmsted. And the park is utilized by a lot of people .Both those areas have a lot of people going through them. When the administration comes to council with ideas like this, we’re happy to work with them on them.”