The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

September 10, 2013

Grants will boost Bridge Street area

ASHTABULA —  Imagine a public parking lot on Bridge Street with lighting and landscaping. Then picture driving on Hulbert Hill without going bump, bump, CLUNK!

It’s all going to happen, thanks to the city receiving nearly $700,000 in grants for the Bridge Street area, City Manager Jim Timonere said Monday.

“We are extremely proud to announce the City of Ashtabula was awarded $289,200 for our Downtown Revitalization project and $300,000 for our Critical Infrastructure project,” he said.

The city also was awarded an additional $89,000 in the form of an Allocation Grant.

 With the Downtown Revitalization Grant, the city will create a public parking lot complete with lighting and landscaping.

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.

“We are excited to move this project forward for the harbor area,” said Luciana Ratermann, the city’s director of planning and community development. “This is an example of how collaboration between the public and private sectors can make a significant impact on our entire community.”

In addition, the north side of Hulbert Hill will be re-bricked with the critical infrastructure grant.

“Hulbert Hill is certainly a project we could not do on our own without the assistance of grant dollars. It will make a huge improvement and a safer road condition,” Timonere said.

The allocation grant will be used as match funds for the downtown and critical infrastructure projects.

The city will have two years to complete the projects for the harbor area.

The Office of Community Development (OCD) recently completed its review of 76 FY 2013 Community Development Program Competitive Set-Aside applications. Funding requests for the Competitive Set-Asides, which include Neighborhood Revitalization, Downtown Revitalization and Critical Infrastructure projects totaled $21.4 million.

Upon completion of the review process, $8.2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars was awarded to the 29 top-ranked proposals.

Thirty-nine Critical Infrastructure Applications were received and 14 were funded. Ten Downtown Revitalization Applications were received with only three  awarded funding, including the City of Ashtabula.

“Mary Church, our project administrator, did an outstanding job on these applications,” Timonere said. “With the help of Luciana Ratermann, director of planning and community development, they put in many long hours and produced a product which impressed those evaluating the applications and ultimately lead to the city's award.”

Many others had a hand in compiling data and assisting with the grant. Charlene Kerr from Poggemeyer, Evelyn Schaeffer from the Lift Bridge Community Association (LBCA), Shelly Mullen from the LBCA and Sarah Jammal, who was a high school senior doing service projects, all assisted in the information gathering process.

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