Greenfield nabs nearly $1.5M


Greenfield is the recipient of a nearly $1.5 million dollar grant that will help see to needed infrastructure repair, according to the city manager.

At the Greenfield council meeting Monday, city manager Todd Wilkin reported that the village was recently awarded a $1.471 million grant for “phase one” water repairs. This will include things like hydrants, service line replacements, valve replacements and water main fixes.

Additionally, $350,000 of that money is to go toward infrastructure repair on a portion of Fourth Street. The funding for the Fourth Street project was pulled together with a zero-interest loan as well as a grant. With the initial grant and the additional grant dollars earmarked for the Fourth Street project, that’s $800,000 to put toward the project and make the money to be borrowed through the loan much less. The price tag for the project is $1.285 million.

Wilkin said the village has been applying for the “phase one” money for more than three years, but until now has only been offered loans instead of grants. While the water rate increase this year has been met with some dismay, it is necessary to help ensure Greenfield is taking steps to finance repairs of its critical infrastructure. Wilkin noted that grantors tend to look at things like rate increases as a step in the right direction and said perhaps that helped sway the decision in the favor of the village receiving grant dollars this time around.

In other business, while the village still awaits a start date on the railroad improvement project funded by the previously awarded Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant. The grant has paid out a little recently to take care of some needed vegetation removal along Greenfield’s 29-mile rail line.

The vegetation has become a nearly $50,000 issue of late, and Wilkin said as the village has waited and waited for the project to begin, it could have already been taken care of if the project had started since the vegetation removal is a part of the project.

In other matters, June’s citizen of the month recipient is Becky Ford, who is affectionately known as Miss Becky throughout the community. Ford just retired from Highland County Community Action Head Start after 54 years of teaching preschool.

“She has touched the lives of hundreds of children and their families throughout those years,” Wilkin said, and she’s served as positive role model not only at her job, but to her family and the community.

When Wilkin asked Ford about working more than half a century at that one thing, Ford replied, “I loved it.”

The Home and Garden Award was presented to Chris and Lacey Hawkins of 813 Jefferson St. This seasonal award recognizes the effort homeowners take with their properties.

The employee of the month is Jonathan Brewer, who has served the village for 24 years. It is for that service and dedication that Brewer is being recognized. Additionally, he stepped up in a recent hit/skip incident involving a vehicle and one of the downtown light poles. His actions helped ensure the individual was held responsible, Wilkin said.

Wilkin reported that the second round of Facade Improvement Program awardees has been selected and the community can expect to see more projects beginning in the downtown. The program is funded in part through ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds through an agreement with the Highland County commissioners. This round of investment, Wilkin said, is $375,000.

An Enterprise Zone agreement came before council members, but could only be received as council members Phil Clyburn and Brenda Losey were excused from the meeting. With their absence, there weren’t enough members present to vote on the measure for immediate passage.

The agreement is regarding a tax abatement for Taco Bell. The agreement must be voted on prior to any ground being broken at the build site. Wilkin said the restaurant owners are planning to start construction at the end of July. Council will soon vote on the agreement when all members are able to be present.

Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.

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