JACKSON CENTER — Many of the residents of Jackson Center will have an opportunity to help improve their home values and upgrade several streets and other services in the village by participating in a brief survey to help State of Ohio officials determine what level of grant funding can be made available through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
Every five years, the village must complete a new survey if they wish to reapply for grant funding. The block grant monies can be used to make improvements in or help maintain the infrastructure of the village, which benefits all residents.
Village Administrator Bruce Metz is excited about the opportunity to make the needed improvements and the effect it will have on the village and its citizens.
“As soon as we get the required surveys turned in, the ball starts rolling,” Metz said. “It’s a lengthy process and the sooner we get started the better. Our plan is to have the application for the grant funding turned in by early June and if all goes well, we’ll get approval from the State of Ohio by September, post bids for upcoming projects by January, and start construction when weather permits in the spring of 2020.”
Metz said the intention is to use the lion’s share of the funding to keep making improvements on streets and roadways. He emphasized that a critical part of the grant process is getting the initial surveys completed by residents because that information is mandatory and determines what level of funding will be granted.
The CDBG survey will be conducted by Access Engineering Inc., with surveys being sent to 300 of the approximate 650 households in the village. Those being surveyed are chosen at random by a computer program and all individuals participating will remain anonymous; all information requested on the survey is kept confidential and used for grant application purposes only.
Metz said the survey is very brief and easy to fill out and he hopes to have them returned quickly.
“ We will send the surveys out very soon and about a week later we will contact anyone who has not returned their survey to answer any questions they may have or clarify things to help the process move along,” he said. “The sooner we get the surveys turned in, the sooner we can get started on the grant application process.”
Metz said in 2014, a similar grant was applied for and the village received $480,000. In 2017, $190,000 was used for the reconstruction of Linden and Davis Streets; $130,000 for the Tiger Trail Park project; and $160,000 for building the storm drain retention pond behind Airstream Inc.
Metz noted that without the grant funding, none of those projects would have been possible. Metz also mentioned it’s a win-win situation for everyone, and that, as long as everyone does their part, the procedure will go smoothly.
“I just want our residents to realize how important this is to them and how they will benefit,” Metz said. “This is a critical infrastructure grant and this opportunity doesn’t come around that often; every grant approval of this type moves everyone up a rung on the ladder in respect to getting their streets updated and/or reconstructed.”
In regards to how the funding will be used, Metz said streets have been made a priority because of the benefit to everyone in the village.
Next on the list is College, Jackson, and Washington Streets; all three of which will be resurfaced, with College also getting a new water main, and Jackson Street new curbs.
The village will do a lot of the smaller jobs, as well, like replacing catch basins, and sidewalk and storm-line repairs, all of which improves the quality of infrastructure, improves home values, and encourages growth.
Metz also stated that, without the grant funding, the burden of paying for the improvements could fall back on the residents with financial support coming in the way of increases in income tax and implementing additional levies, which no one likes to see.
Also in favor of the grant application is JC Economic Development Director and Zoning Officer Ed Maxwell, who spoke favorably about all the improvements Jackson Center has realized in the past from grant support.
“The big advantage is the grants bring much-needed funding to our community for a variety of advances,” Maxwell said. “Things like the new streets, signs, and lighting, water, sewage, and electric services have also been improved. The nice streets and all the trimmings around our school were made possible by grants. Those grant dollars are incorporated into the village as a whole, and it helps everyone in the long run.
“We must all pull together to get all the available resources we can and a big part of this current grant process is getting the surveys turned in on time,” he continued. “I hope everyone realizes that their individual participation is an important piece of the bigger puzzle and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation and thank them ahead of time for their efforts.”