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South Side News & Notes

2/6/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Springfield accepts more Moving Ohio Forward funds

SPRINGFIELD — During a special Jan. 30 meeting, the Springfield Board of Trustees approved an amendment to its Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program agreement from last year.

The state Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant Program was established through a federal settlement from a suit against banks that used practices that spurred on the foreclosure crisis, according to Holly Miller, senior administrator in Summit County’s Department of Community and Economic Development, which administers the program.

Ohio received $95 million, and $3.7 million of that amount was allocated to Summit County, according to Miller. Of that amount, $500,000 was available outright, and the rest required a match from local communities participating in the program. Participating local communities received funds to demolish dilapidated structures, and unused funds had to be returned after Dec. 31, 2013, said Miller.

Springfield Township received $381,037 last year through the program, with $100,000 provided through local funds, and 44 properties were demolished, according to Springfield Zoning and Planning Administrator Patricia Ryan.

Springfield trustees recently accepted an additional $25,000 for more demolitions in the amended agreement. According to Ryan, the money will be used to tear down additional homes, which must be done by May 31.

Also during the meeting, trustees adjourned into executive session to discuss the employment of a public employee, with no further action taken afterward.

Trustees met for a special meeting yesterday, Feb. 6, to review matters affecting the Springfield Fire Department. Details of that meeting were not available by presstime.


Constellation Energy selected as gas supplier in Green

GREEN — City of Green officials announced they have chosen Constellation Energy Gas Choice as the program’s supplier for a two-year program ending with the April 2016 billing cycle.

Constellation is replacing Direct Energy Source as the program’s supplier, according to city officials. Residents and small businesses should look for a notice from Constellation to arrive on or about today, Feb. 7, that explains the offer and conditions of the program.

“In the new program, rates will vary from month-to-month, but members have the option at any time during the program to convert to a fixed rate price for a 12-month period, or through the expiration of the program, whichever occurs first,” said Mayor Dick Norton.

According to city officials, any customer wanting to convert to a fixed rate must contact Constellation at 800-718-1493. The fixed rate offered will be a stable price per mcf (thousand cubic feet) that will be equal to a 9 percent discount off the standard Constellation fixed rate offer shown on the PUCO’s Apples to Apples Price Comparison Chart at the time the customer makes the decision to convert, according to city officials.

“We are pleased to have been chosen as the city’s supplier,” said Bruce Stewart, chief marketing officer for Constellation. “For those customers needing to take action to join the city’s program, we’ve set up several means of enrollment for their convenience. First, residents and small businesses may call Constellation at 800-718-1493. Secondly, they may mail or fax the reply card that comes with the letter sent to their home or business.”

According to city officials, customers wishing to join the program must be in good standing with their bill payment and cannot be part of the utility’s Percentage of Income Payment Program. Residents served by other suppliers are encouraged to review the terms and conditions of their current supplier agreement before enrolling, as many suppliers charge a penalty for early termination.

For more information, contact Constellation at the above number.


Probate Court now accepting credit cards

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer has announced that as of Feb. 3, the court is able to accept credit cards for court transactions.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express will be accepted at the Summit County Probate Court for filings, marriage licenses and other transactions.

For more information, call 330-643-2348.


Kasich bringing State of State to Medina

MEDINA — Gov. John Kasich requested the convening of a joint session of the General Assembly on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Medina Performing Arts Center to deliver his 2014 State of the State address.

“Medina is one of Ohio’s great communities, and this is a great way to celebrate it,” said Kasich’s Press Secretary Rob Nichols in a news release last month. “Medina is also the hometown of [House] Speaker [William] Batchelder [R-District 69], and as he starts the last year of his term, this is a way to recognize his distinguished 46-year career in public service.”

Since coming into office, Kasich has broken with the practice of previous governors who delivered their State of the State addresses at the Statehouse in Columbus. After his first address there in 2011, Kasich has delivered the address at Wells Academy, a public elementary school in Steubenville, and the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima.

Tickets will be determined by a lottery. To submit information to be considered for tickets, visit governor.ohio.gov/tickets and complete the form before 6 p.m. Feb. 18. A block of tickets will be awarded at random by lottery, and those who are selected will be notified via email by noon Feb. 19, according to the Governor’s Office.


UWSC seeking request for funding from local agencies

SUMMIT COUNTY — United Way of Summit County is accepting Letters of Intent (LOIs) for its Development and Priorities Funds from nonprofit organizations that provide service in Summit County.

Priority Fund areas are Financial Stability for Families; Utility Assistance for Adults Without Minor Children in the Household; and, added this year, Health/Wellness and Prevention. The goal of the Health/Wellness and Prevention priority is to reduce or eliminate health disparities through education, outreach or access to health/wellness/preventive programs or initiatives.

Development Fund Grants will be awarded based on the merits of the proposal, with emphasis on increasing service capacity for critical programs, how well it addresses a critical community need, and the benefits to local residents in need. The proposals are also compared to currently existing programs and agencies.

Interested organizations must submit an LOI to the United Way of Summit County, at 90 N. Prospect St., Akron, OH 44304 by 4 p.m. Feb. 21.

To obtain the LOI form and all information on the Grant Proposal Application process, call Sue Schaad at 330-643-5510. Applications from those agencies invited to submit a formal proposal will be accepted only through United Way’s Community Impact Online Application process. The deadline for the formal proposal is April 11.

Organizations submitting proposals are encouraged to seek alignment of programs and projects for which they are seeking funding with existing collaborative efforts in the county, such as the Healthy Summit 2020 (Quality of Life) Project. A full description of collaborative efforts is available at www.uwsummit.org/CommunityInvestment/Collaborative.htm.


AMATS kicks off 2014 by approving $29 million in new projects

DOWNTOWN AKRON — In its first meeting of 2014, the AMATS Policy Committee approved 39 projects totaling nearly $29 million in new project funding. Committee approval caps off a selection process that began last October when the agency began sifting through more than 133 applications from project sponsors throughout the Greater Akron area.

The projects selected for funding reflect AMATS’ emphasis on preserving the area’s existing transportation system while pursuing new efficiency strategies as a means to stretch the area’s federal transportation funding, according to Victor Botosan, the agency’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) coordinator.

“The pot of government funds for transportation projects is not growing,” he said in a press release. “This latest round of funding continues the approach that we adopted several years ago of making the most of what we have now.”

The committee approved nearly $18 million in federal Surface Transportation Program funds (STP) for a mix of 12 improvement projects to widen, reconstruct and reroute some of the area’s most vital roadways. Some of the STP-funded projects incorporate such strategies as “road diets,” which are lane reductions and various bike and pedestrian improvements to achieve systemic improvements.

Area bike and pedestrian projects also will get a significant boost from the agency through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). Nearly $4 million in TAP funds will go to 11 bike and pedestrian improvements throughout Summit and Portage counties.

The agency also approved nearly $7 million in Resurfacing Program funds for 16 projects throughout the region. Among the notable projects to land funding were Phases 1 and 2 of Boston Heights’ planned resurfacing of Olde Eight Road, which received a commitment of nearly $1.5 million from the agency.

Other noteworthy projects include:

  • $5 million for the rerouting of state Route 59 in Akron;
  • more than $3 million for the intersection improvement of Canton Road/state Route 91 in Springfield and Lakemore (for more on that, see related News & Notes item at right);
  • $500,000 for Phase 2 of the Headwaters Trail-Hiram Extension in Hiram Township;
  • $500,000 for Phase 3 of Metro Parks, Serving Summit County’s Freedom Trail in Akron; and
  • $360,000 for the resurfacing of Prospect Street in Rootstown and Ravenna townships.

A complete listing of projects is available at www.amatsplanning.org. For additional details, contact Botosan at 330-375-2436 or VBotosan@AkronOhio.gov.


AMATS reports $4 million in grants for Canton Road improvements

SPRINGFIELD/LAKEMORE — The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) announced Jan. 31 that the Canton Road Improvement Project, a joint project between the Summit County Engineer and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), received more than $3.1 million in federal Surface Transportation Program funding.

In addition, AMATS also approved the Summit County engineer’s grant requests for resurfacing funds for Canton Road from just south of Springfield Lake Drive to Salmon Drive and for constructing a sidewalk along the west side of Canton Road from U.S. Route 224 to the new Springfield High School. The total amount of AMATS grant funding received for the Canton Road projects is nearly $4.3 million, according to the Engineer’s Office.

The improvement project starts at Farmdale Drive and extends to approximately 500 feet south of Springfield Lake Drive, according to the Engineer’s Office. The project calls for the improvement of the Canton Road/state Route 91/U.S. 224 intersection, including the creation of dual northbound left-turn lanes and an added eastbound right-turn lane.

The project also proposes widening Canton Road to five lanes, constructing a raised median starting just south of U.S. 224 and extending to 300 feet south of the Arcadia/Meadows intersection. U-turn lanes will be constructed at the Springfield Lake Drive intersection and at the Linwood Road intersection, according to the Engineer’s Office.

This stretch of roadway consistently has been ranked near the top of AMATS’ high accident corridors in Summit County, which enabled the project to receive $5 million in federal safety funds.

ODOT owns three legs of the intersection, as well as state Route 91 as it extends north from the intersection. Officials from ODOT and the Engineer’s Office said they have been working together to solve the safety issues along this corridor. By creating one combined project, ODOT and the county have saved money, and the project will be designed and constructed faster than if each agency were preparing their own project, according to Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker.

“Since I first became county engineer, I have made it a goal to identify how to properly fund the improvement of Canton Road,” Brubaker said. “We have had various proposals for improvements, but we were initially in a big funding hole. Through a partnership with ODOT, federal safety funds, state funds, and now with the approval of this critical grant award by AMATS, we finally have enough funding to move forward.”

For updates on the project, visit www.summitengineer.net.


Kathlen Folkerth, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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