Round two of community meetings held for neighborhood revitalization grant

| February 24, 2017

DSC_0003COSHOCTON – Whitaker Wright from CDC of Ohio had some good news for the small group who gathered for the second neighborhood revitalization grant meeting on Feb. 23 at city hall.

The map of the north end area of the city the grant is targeting had a strange bump between North Fifth Street and North 14th Street. Wright asked the government if the lines for the project could expand all the way to Chestnut Street and they said yes.

“The original lines were census map lines, but this makes it a more cohesive neighborhood,” he said.

Now Wright just needs to help Coshocton City officials get more people from the community to participate in the planning process of what can be done with the grant.

The goal of this grant is to assist low and moderate-income communities with revitalization. The grants typically fund two to four projects that benefit the entire neighborhood. A maximum amount of $500,000 can be received and the application is due in June. The work must then be completed during the time frame of September 2017 to August 2019.

The grant can be used for a variety of projects, but Wright said the state pays a lot of attention to the residents’ opinions. At the last community meeting on Feb. 2 he announced that surveys were being passed out to those who live or work in the neighborhood the grant will impact. Wright and city officials were hoping for more feedback by the Feb. 23 meeting, but are still marching forward.

Those at the meeting were presented with maps of how two different towns in Ohio, Wellston and Kenton, approached their projects and what community groups were willing to do to help out in the designated area. Wright explained that the government understands that the old grant formula of asking communities, especially small villages and cities, to provide matching funds doesn’t work well anymore. Their new approach to asking for “matching funds” is for communities to come up with volunteer based projects to enhance what the grant is able to do.

Some of the grant projects in Wellston included water line updates, addressing flood and drainage issues and volunteers replaced street signs, made a community garden, did a postcard public art project, made a school bus shelter and worked on a proposed health center. In Kenton grant money helped with many projects including updating a park that volunteer projects also improved.

“I wanted to show you the range of what can be done,” Wright said. “The state will entertain just about anything. We just have to think through the projects for the grant.”

Some projects for Coshocton that have been discussed include: Sidewalks, possible demolition of properties, lighting, drainage, new street signs and poles, pruning and removal of trees and making sure homes have their house numbers displayed.

Chestnut Street resident Dick Moore was particularly interested in a possible sewer project.

“I have problems in my basement with sewage back up and had to put in a backflow preventer that cost $2,500. A lot of people in the neighborhood can’t afford to do that.”

City Service Director Jerry Stenner has spoken with Moore often about his issue.

“When we have heavy rains we have sewer water infiltrate our sanitary system in his neighborhood,” Stenner said.

He believes the problem will be able to be addressed with a separate critical infrastructure grant they have high hopes of receiving.

Wright wrapped up the meeting by reminding everyone that the volunteer projects will be included in the grant application and the state will check to make sure they are completed.

“We have to make sure the volunteer projects are age and skill appropriate for the groups doing them,” he said. “You will see that these really do bring people together and help them see that change is for the better.”

The next community meeting to further discuss and develop ideas for the grant application will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at city hall in council chambers.

Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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