State Route 47 project still topic of discussion for city council

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council continued to discuss the state Route 47 corridor improvement project at Monday evening’s meeting.

City Manager Mark Cundiff told council members the trial run of potential changes on state Route 47 will cost the city about $15,000 for a week-long trial. Cundiff it would not include a simulated round-about, as there is no way to set it up.

Council member Steve Wagner said he doesn’t think a week would be a long enough period of time for the trial and asked if it could be extended to two weeks, minimum. Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough said it could probably be extended another week for additional $2-3,000. But the trial run will not be paid from grant money, it must be be paid for by the city.

Council member Darryl Thurber said he thinks the money could be better used elsewhere.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan seemed to in favor of the trial responding,”it’s a big project, though,” but questioned Cundiff about his thoughts on his gathered information.

Cundiff said he didn’t think it was that big of a price to pay in terms of the scope and cost of the overall project.

Council member Joe Ratermann said he thinks it is “premature” and is interested to see what they will learn at the upcoming public meeting scheduled for March 16 at the Senior Center.

Council member Ed Hamaker felt they should wait until after March 16 before they do anything.

The discussion ensued about whether they should move forward with the trial before or after the public meeting, as members appeared to be split on the decision. Milligan noted their job is to bring forth as much information to the public as possible at the public meeting, and it would be best to conduct the trial before hand. But members were divided in part because the city doesn’t have the actual road construction plans in hand to simulate the trial run and because of the concern with the cost involved to conduct it.

Wagner said its a small price to pay for the project that will cost multi-millions of dollars and something the community will be “stuck with for the next 40 to 50 to 60 years.”

After an animated conversation, it was decided to wait on the trial run, at least until after the public meeting. At one point, Cundiff pointed out they have time to conduct the trial-run in the future, if they choose, as construction would not begin until the spring of 2020.

At Monday’s council meeting, there also was a public hearing on the 2017 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. CDBG funds are federal funds allocated to Ohio from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Sidney may apply for funding under the following programs:

• Community Development Program — Formula Allocation, Neighborhood Revitalization (competitive set-aside), Downtown Revitalization (competitive set-aside), Critical Infrastructure (open-cycle);

• Community Housing and Impact Program (CHIP);

• Economic Development and Public Infrastructure Program;

• Target of Opportunity Grant Program;

• Training and Technical Assistance Funds;

• Any new programs announced under the CDBG, Home Investment Partnerships (HOME), and OHTF programs.

Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth said beginning in 2017 the Ohio Development Services Agency is modifying the Formula Allocation program to provide eligible communities with biennial allocations, rather than yearly. Sidney will be eligible for funding in the odd years, which means the city will receive approximately $156,000 in 2017.

Dulworth said the CDBG program can fund a broad range of activities that must meet one of the CDBG national objectives to primarily benefit people earning low and moderate income, or aid to prevent/elimination slums, or meet an urgent need of the community.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.