Megasite grant now in bank, mayor says
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Van Wert officials have received $500,000 in state funding for the megasite project, and also announced the awarding of a new grant that will allow the West Main Street reconstruction project to be extended.
Mayor Don Farmer announced Wednesday that the city has received $500,000 from the Ohio Department of Development to be used for the 1,600-acre Jobs Ready Site project north of Van Wert. “We’re there,” Mayor Farmer said concerning the status of the Jobs Ready Site project. “That is great news for the megasite.”
With the receipt of the ODOD grant, which represents 10 percent of the total grant amount of $5 million, the mayor said he plans to request that City Auditor Martha Balyeat appropriate another $500,000 from the city’s “rainy day” fund to be used as seed money for the project. The $1 million will go to the Community Improvement Corporation to pay for options taken on the megasite land, and to the Van Wert County Port Authority to pay for land on which a railroad spur will be constructed. The money will also be used to pay for engineering/design work and to pay for initial infrastructure work at the megasite.
The mayor said bid packages for the project should be awarded by the end of the year, with work at the site to be completed by the end of 2013.
The city also received a grant from the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program that would be used to extend the West Main Street reconstruction project. The first phase of the project, which would cost an estimated $3 million, would take place next year and would extend from Shannon Street to the Orchard Tree restaurant.
The new grant would fund a second phase of the project, which would run from the Orchard Tree to the city limits just past John Brown Road. Cost of that phase is estimated at $2.4 million, of which the Ohio Department of Transportation will pay approximately $1.685 million, and it will begin either in 2014 or 2015, depending on what ODOT decides.
Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming said the ODOT portion of the project is not the usual 80/20 match, but that’s because the city is doing more in the way of water and sewer line replacement than normal. Curbs and gutters will also be replaced, but Fleming said he didn’t think the street would be substantially widened, although some widening could take place.
The safety-service director also noted that the West Main Street project was also probably the last one eligible for Small Cities grants, which were also used to reconstruct Washington and Shannon streets.
Mayor Farmer said extending the West Main Street project to the city limits would mean that all main entries into the city would have been improved by the time that project is completed. The mayor also announced that demolition of a city-owned house located at the terminus of Lincoln Highway on North Wayne Street is scheduled to begin this coming Tuesday, which would also clean up that entrance into Van Wert.
Local funding for the West Main Street reconstruction projects comes from the city’s Street Construction Fund.