Greenfield has received more than $1 million in grant funding so far this year and City Manager Todd Wilkin has plans to go after more funding and project opportunities for the community.
One of the projects getting funded is a Mill Street project for the improvement of the water and sewer infrastructure, new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and creating an entrance to the industrial park at the end of Mill Street. That project is planned to begin this summer.
Wilkin reported at Tuesday’s village council meeting that the nearly $900,000 Mill Street project is receiving funding beyond the initial grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC), which was for $449,000. The village has been awarded additional funding to supplement that gap, Wilkin said, including more than $47,000 from the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC). More than $57,000 is slated to come from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
Added all together, Greenfield so far has $553,870 toward the Mill Street project with plans to apply for more grants for the project, Wilkin said. Whatever gap remains after grant monies are applied will be covered with a loan.
A project on north Fifth Street, which includes new curbs and gutters on the west side of the street and the installation of a new retention pond to help mitigate flooding in that area, is also being funded by grant dollars, as are projects at Mitchell Park.
“We are excited,” to get these projects going, said council chair Phil Clyburn.
“So as it stands today, the village has been awarded a grand total of approximately $1.07 million in grant dollars for projects within Greenfield,” Wilkin said. “We have a busy year planned for this year as we apply for even more grants and project opportunities within our community.”
Currently, there are plans for applying for more than $2 million more in grant funding, an amount Wilkin expects to increase throughout the year as more grant opportunities arise.
“We are continuing to work to make the industrial park better, the cemetery better, the parks better,” Clyburn said. “And we are still going after economic development.”
The village will also be going after grant dollars to fund railroad repairs.
While a multi-million dollar improvement project on Greenfield’s 29-mile rail spur was completed a couple years ago, the railroad was not as refurbished as thoroughly as what was originally planned due to cost increases over the nearly four years it took from project funding to actually getting the project started.
The project was funded in 2012. Obstacles had to be overcome along the way took time, and the actual construction did not begin until June of 2016. In that time, materials price increases were such that total railroad refurbishment was not possible. It became a matter of fixing what was most in need of fixing, Wilkin said previously, which included tie replacements, crossing improvements, and fixing the bridge east of the village where two previous derailments had occurred.
Recent issues have cost about $17,000, Wilkin reported to council. He recently met with railroad officials and learned there are grants available to help. The plan right now is to pay for a risk assessment of the rail line, a cost of about $38,000, which will help “identify any significant failures,” he said.
Wilkin said he plans to apply to OVRDC for funding of $250,000 for the railroad, an amount the village has discussed already with the OVRDC and the Appalachian Regional Commission, both of which are reportedly “in favor” of the endeavor.
It is just one of “several funding strategies” Wilkin said the village will employ to secure funding to help the railroad and retain the more than 1,000 jobs at the three companies dependent on the railroad — Greenfield’s Adient, Leesburg’s Candle-lite, and New Vienna’s Huhtamaki.
The city manager also reported to council that the village recently purchased a bucket truck and received it Tuesday. The cost for the truck was $16,500, he said.
“This has been a request for several years for the employees as we often have odd jobs that we either have had to sub out or not complete because of the necessity of a bucket truck,” Wilkin said.
The village met with a local business on Wednesday to walk through the attic of the City Building and into the clock tower to review the structural integrity. A group of volunteers from the community has stepped forward that would like to rebuild the clock, but the village will need to see to any structural repairs that may be needed, painting, and any other preparation to receive new clocks.
Following Wednesday’s assessment of the roof area and the clock tower, significant repairs are needed.
Finance Director Carolyn Snodgrass delivered her report to council on April’s preliminary numbers. Those are: month-to-date revenue – $356,578; month-to-date expenses – $310,248; year-to-date revenue – $1,220,504; year-to-date expenses – $1,028,857; and a general fund balance of $241,561 as of April 30.
A special meeting of council is to be held May 15, according to Clyburn. One of the items to be addressed is legislation on outdoor seating at downtown eateries. It will have its third reading and be voted on.
That legislation being adopted, Clyburn said, will be an asset to the village. He added that having such a policy in place to allow outdoor seating is an idea that goes back to the economic development plan for the village that council unanimously adopted last year.
That plan is available for viewing on the village’s website, greenfieldohio.net.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Village of Greenfield.