JACKSON CENTER — Approximately 50 Jackson Center residents and others from the local community attended the first of four public meetings designed to seek public input on how potential dollars from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) could be used in the future. The meeting was held in the Family Life Center at 310 Davis St. Monday evening.
Craig Mescher, with Access Engineering Solutions of Celina, was on hand to explain the CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization Program, present the eligibility process, and introduce the Village Improvement Survey.
“This is a cooperative grant offered through the Ohio Development Services (OSDA) to address locally identified needs that are eligible under block grant provisions and determine what may qualify for funding,” Mescher said. “Projects are designed to improve the quality of life, livability, and functionality of distressed areas determined by surveys that determine the income of people living there. Later another survey determines what projects will be targeted in part by the opinions of those residing there; things like new construction, reconstruction, or rehabilitation public infrastructure are priorities.”
Results from a previously completed survey indicated Jackson Center was at the moderate-income population level making it eligible as noted by JC Zoning Enforcement Officer and Community Development Director Ed Maxwell. Village Administrator Bruce Metz joined Mescher in the presentation of information.
“Most people are willing to cooperate by filling out a survey that will help bring improvements to their lifestyle and community; your cooperation provided the information needed to determine where we were at in the scheme of things and that’s good for us at this time. Opportunities like this don’t come around that often, we’re looking at a possible $700,000 here. We may not be eligible the next time around so we’re hoping our residents will fill out and return the seconds and latest survey to help determine where we should use the funding; they want our list submitted on time and your input will help us determine what areas we need to address,” Metz said.
Attendees were given a list of the most common choices for upgrades and improvements which included clearance activities, flood and drainage control, neighborhood facilities and community centers, parks and recreation facilities, public utilities, street improvements, water facilities, parking areas, public rehabilitation, sidewalks and curb improvements, and sewer (sanitary) facility improvements.
“The grant application must include a minimum of 3 activities; however, the most competitive applications typically have five to eight activities,” said Maxwell.
“Surveys have been mailed out and are also readily available online,” said JC Village Fiscal Officer Bev Wren. A PDF file of the survey is located on the village website as well as on the village Facebook page.
“Recent information made available to us indicates there are a lot of people visiting our Facebook page, if that option works best for you that’s fine, we just need to get them filled out and sent in as soon as possible; the sooner the better,” Wren said, noting the deadline for returning the surveys is March 13.
On March 23, the second meeting will be held to discuss the results of the survey and identify potential activities, specific locations, and identify sources of leverage funds. The third meeting slated for April 13 will be held to present cost estimates of potential activities, rank and prioritize those potential activities based on survey rank, costs, and overall benefit. The fourth and last meeting will be held on April 27 and will be used to finalize the activities for inclusion in the grant application and determine allocation of funds for each of the selected activities. All meetings will be held in the Family Life Center at 6 p.m. on the respected dates listed above; more information is available online at the village website, Facebook page, or by calling the village office at 937-596-6314.
The grant application is due June 26 and the program period is 24 months long. The projects must begin by September 2020 and end by September 2022, Mescher said.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.