By SHELLEY TERRY
City Council Monday night officially accepted nearly $700,000 in grants from the Ohio Development Services Agency to improve Bridge Street.
“This will allow me to move ahead with the project,” City Manager Jim Timonere said.
The City of Ashtabula was awarded $289,200 for a Downtown Revitalization project, $300,000 for a Critical Infrastructure project and an additional $89,000 in the form of an Allocation Grant.
With the Downtown Revitalization Grant, the city will create a public parking lot with lighting and landscaping, and the north side of Hulbert Hill will be re-bricked with the critical infrastructure grant.
The city also will have $100,000 available to businesses and building owners in $10,000 increments for building improvements such as façade updates. The business owners or building owners must match the initial funds in order to receive the grant.
The allocation grant will be used as match funds for the downtown and critical infrastructure projects.
The city will have two years to finish all of the projects in the harbor area.
City Auditor Dana Pinkert reported she will present the 2014 proposed budget at City Council’s next meeting, slated for 7 p.m. Oct. 21.
“There are shavings here and there, but overall, it seems to be working out,” Timonere said. “Anyone can come to the meeting if they have questions.”
Pinkert already has met with the department heads, including Municipal Judge Albert Camplese for input on the budget, she said.
There will be another meeting with department heads Oct. 16.
President J.P. Ducro IV said, “That’s exciting. What a great start.”
In other business:
• Council approved Timonere’s request for an ordinance authorizing him to transfer the traffic building on Bridge Street to the Ashtabula City Port Authority for economic development purposes. Timonere said the real property is no longer needed for city operations.
• Council approved Timonere’s request for authorization to dispose of obsolete equipment at Walnut Beach. When workers finished renovating the restrooms and concession stand in June, they had two old sinks and a grease trap left over, he said.
• Timonere said the city started the West Ninth Street sewer project in the neighborhood of Kent State University Ashtabula campus on Monday. Motorists should watch out for workers.
• The West Avenue overpass project will be done by mid-November, he said.
• Garbage pick-up will remain on residents’ normal day next week, despite the Columbus Day holiday on Monday.