Towns make pitches for shrinking block grants

With no place else to turn, the small towns took their best shots at getting grants to fix up their
cash-strapped communities.
Their mayors and council members told of standing water on roads, leaking roofs, and decaying sidewalks
that are sending children and elderly into busy streets to reach post offices or small stores.
All had worthwhile stories of the hardships being faced in their communities.
"This is one of the most frustrating things this body does every year," said Wood County
Commissioner Tim Brown, who also sits on the county planning commission which reviewed the grant
requests Tuesday evening. "We anguish over this every single year."
And every year – at least in recent memory -the needs seem to grow as the funding continues to shrink.

"There’s an awful lot of money requested and there’s never enough to go around," said Tony
Allion, a planning commission member.
This year, a total of $670,171 was requested for 17 projects by 14 applicants. But the amount actually
available to hand out -$254,700 – was far shy of the need.
When it came down to the final vote, the winners were Custar, Cygnet, Hoytville, Risingsun, West
Millgrove and a joint project with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District and Wood County Health
Department. Put on the list for alternate funding, in case one of the others falls through, were Liberty
Township and Portage. And not making the cut at all were two projects in Cygnet, plus one each in
Haskins, Jerry City, Milton Center, Northwood, Rossford and Weston.
The decision came after the planning commission listened to pitches made by mayors and council members.
Like Custar Mayor Linda Bechstein, who said standing water covers Custar Road for days after every heavy
rain. And Cygnet Mayor Nancy Myers, who explained the village has struck out on requests for federal
stimulus money. "We’re just trying to get money for things that need done," like fixing the
roof on the fire hall and fencing in the water plant.
"We understand due to the economy your money is tight," Hoytville Mayor Joe Hagemeyer told the
planning commission. However, his town was struggling with deteriorating manholes that were putting a
burden on the village lagoon system.
In the southeastern corner of the county, Risingsun and West Millgrove officials asked for money to fix
crumbling sidewalks, which are in such bad condition that children and people in wheelchairs are using
busy roads like Ohio 199 and Ohio 23.
"We are concerned about people getting to the post office," said West Millgrove council member
Ann Schreiner. "The post office is the social gathering place in the village."
To help people throughout the county, the water and sewer district asked for funding to help low income
residents who have to tap into EPA-ordered sewers.
"The property owners want to tap, they just don’t have the money," said Jerry Greiner, director
of the district.
This year, few communities could even muster any matching funds for their applications. Such was the case
with Milton Center, which requested funds for storm sewer improvements.
"They don’t have any money to put toward this project," explained Tom Stalter, an engineer with
Poggemeyer Design Group.
The same was true for Risingsun.
"We put all our money in the sewer project last year," Mayor Rick Whetsel said.
The county commissioners will make the final decision on the grant requests this afternoon.
Winners and losers in grant
competition

Projects making the cut for CDBG funds:
¥ Custar: $53,500 to replace storm sewer line in northwest section of village.
¥ Cygnet: $60,000 for an 8-foot fence around water treatment plant; and replacement of village hall and
fire station.
¥ Hoytville: $40,000 to fix 15 manholes and replace four cleanouts.
¥ Northwestern Water and Sewer District, and Wood County Health Department: $30,000 to help low income
homeowners forced to hook up to sewers.
¥ Risingsun: $41,230 to fix ADA ramp at village office and put new sidewalk on Main Street.
¥ West Millgrove: $29,970 to replace sidewalks on Ohio 199 and Sandusky Street.
Alternate projects next in line for the funding:
¥ Liberty Township: $22,260 to repair and replace sidewalk along Mermill Road in Rudolph.
¥ Portage: $24,301 to replace storm sewer lines and install new catch basins along Greensburg Pike.
Those projects no longer in the running:
¥ Cygnet: $25,900 for parking lot in Martin Park.
¥ Cygnet: $78,600 to replace six light poles at park ballfield.
¥ Haskins: $35,000 to construct ADA restrooms at Lusher Park.
¥ Jerry City: $50,050 to resurface Jerry City Road between Huffman Road and Union Street.
¥ Milton Center: $61,620 for storm sewer improvements on north side of village.
¥ Northwood: $38,500 for ADA improvements to 16 curb ramps.
¥ Rossford: $38,700 to install a storm sewer line, manholes and catch basin.
¥ Weston: $23,220 to install 13 ADA compliant curb ramps.