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Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Grant possible to help with massive upgrades

By William Kincaid
MENDON - The village is next in line to compete for a $300,000 neighborhood revitalization Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), said Mercer County Economic Development Director Jared Ebbing.
If obtained, Ebbing said he hopes to leverage the grant money to obtain as much as $1 million in other funds to undertake a massive village-wide improvement project in the next few years. But first, the county needs Mendon residents to fill out an income survey required to be eligible for the CDBG money, Ebbing said.
The grant application is due in June.
In January, Ebbing said a series of community engagement meetings will begin, as the county wants to hear what kind of projects residents want to pursue.
"Basically, we just want to listen to people talk," Ebbing said, pointing out that the meetings will be important for creating a strategic improvement plan for Mendon.
Such projects could include infrastructure work, park improvements, sidewalks and roads.
If Mendon is successful in obtaining the grant, he said he would then try to couple that money with around $95,000 of Mercer County's "formula" funding, one of several types of grants administered through the Ohio Department of Development.
In previous years, the county's formula funding has been allocated to several municipalities. But Ebbing said he would like to get "the most bang for (the county's) buck" by giving the money exclusively to Mendon.
With $395,000 total, Mendon would stand a good chance of being awarded even more funds from other state entities such as Ohio Public Works Commission - perhaps as much as $1 million, he said. Funding entities are more inclined to award municipalities that already have secured a large amount of money.
As economic development director, Ebbing said he is communicating more with municipalities, especially those without a village administrator, like Mendon.
"It's so much tougher for them to know what kind of programs are out there," he said. "That's community development and that leads to economic development in the long run."
Ebbing said he wants to help the smaller villages create five-year capital plans and secure funding sources.
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