WCH receives downtown improvement grant

By Martin Graham - [email protected]

Fayette County was recently on a list of state recipients for grants aimed at helping downtown infrastructure and improvement costs for local businesses.

According to an Ohio Development Services Agency press release, 34 communities across Ohio will receive grants to revitalize neighborhoods and downtown business districts. The grants will improve streets, sidewalks, bridges, public facilities and infrastructure as well as rehabilitate buildings in a community’s central business district.

The Ohio Development Services Agency awarded grants totaling more than $9 million through the Community Development Critical Infrastructure, Downtown Revitalization and Neighborhood Revitalization Competitive Set-Aside programs.

“Communities with strong business districts and neighborhoods are better positioned for growth,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency.

Fayette County received a $300,000 Downtown Revitalization grant to help the city of Washington Court House repair 25 building facades, and install 14 items of street furniture. This grant will be used to pay for roughly 50 percent of project costs for businesses wanting to make those much needed improvements.

“The businesses will be able to use that for exterior building improvements, code improvements or other projects that they have been wanting to accomplish,” City Manager Joe Denen said Friday during an interview. “The property owners on an improvement project would have to come up with half of the costs. Largely though this grant is designed to help with the aesthetic appeal downtown.”

Denen said that eligible projects could include a code issue with the building such as electrical issues and is also geared toward visual improvements that would draw more business in. Denen also said that between now and spring time, there will be a meeting for downtown property owners to go over the specifics and exactly how they apply.

“The street furniture is for trash containers, benches, those types of things,” Denen said. “I mean you are investing capital in those businesses and partnering with building owners, which are things I think are good for the community. Grant-wise though, we are doing pretty good, not that long ago we had a $500,000 trail grant. Thanks to those grants we should remain pretty busy as we continue to improve the community.”

Denen suggested that business owners should consider projects they have been wanting to do that could add appeal to the their business. The best way Denen said he could put it is that the project could be “half off” essentially.

Besides Fayette County, Highland County received a $300,000 Critical Infrastructure grant to help the city of Hillsboro reconstruct South East Street. The project will install 11 catch basins, and repair 4,400 linear feet of sewer line and road. The project will benefit 250 people.

Madison County also received a $300,000 Neighborhood Revitalization grant to help the village of Mt. Sterling repave 700 linear feet of Clevenger Avenue and replace street signs throughout the village. The grant will also support improvements to Masson Park, demolish four blighted properties, build a new driveway to the Community Center and build a Veterans’ Memorial at the village square.


By Martin Graham

[email protected]

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy