By SEAN RICE
Celina City Council denied a motion Monday night that would
have allowed community development director Sue Canary to apply
for grants to fund part of the West Bank Road boardwalk project.
Council members Denny Smith and Angie King gave the negative
votes that stripped Canary’s ability to apply for Clean
Ohio Trails and Recreational Trails grants from the Ohio Department
of Natural Resources (ODNR). Canary applied for the two grants
totaling nearly $600,000 last year and was denied.
She had planned to apply for the grants again this year, and
an emergency resolution was presented Monday to allow her to
meet the Feb. 1 deadline. Council member King questioned the
short notice of the resolution, before she and Smith provided
the no votes to deny the emergency clause.
The grants would have provided funding for phase two of construction,
which would extend the boardwalk from the Beaver Creek Spillway
to Sugar Street. Phase one would take the boardwalk from the
Grand Lake State Park boat launch to the spillway.
The only funding lined-up for the mile-long concrete walkway
planned for the Grand Lake shoreline of West Bank Road is a
$250,000 allotment from the 2003-2004 state capital budget,
secured by state Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina).
The entire boardwalk is estimated to cost more than $1 million.
On Monday, Canary said phase one of construction also could
be funded by borrowing against future revenue generated by the
tax increment financing (TIF) district that was established.
A TIF district recently was enacted for the area along West
Bank Road, which will, over the course of years, generate funds
for infrastructure improvements in the district. In a TIF district,
property taxes are paid by the property owners just as before
the district was created. Each year when property values increase
because of improvements or inflation, the increase in taxes
paid is directed to a TIF account.
Councilman Smith said members have not yet discussed how to
spend future TIF funds, and a committee will need to meet to
discuss Canary’s plans.
Some audience members Monday voiced opposition to another grant
program under consideration by city administration. Council
members briefly discussed the Community Development Block Grant
(CDBG) revitalization program that can provide more than $1
million for downtown building upgrades.
The main part of the grant provides up to $400,000 for building
and property upgrades in the designated downtown district. That
“tier two” grant requires a 100 percent match and
can be applied for three times. Before that program is applied
to, $15,000 is available to prepare the planning documents,
engineering and community dialogue that is required.
Rules of the program require 20 percent of the building or business
owners in the district to participate, and the city must contribute
at least 10 percent, or $40,000. The remainder of the match
funds required can be tallied with donations and by combining
other concurrent projects, private and public. Also a downtown
district would have to be created. Council member Rick Bachelor
said it would be an extended downtown, reaching down West Bank
King asked if business owners are on board, or if the projects
to be applied for have been picked out yet.
“The planning grant is to find out these things, to put
the documentation together for what we need for tier two,”
“And where is that $40,000 for tier two going to come
from? We don’t have that right now,” King asked.
“And we don’t need it right now,” Bachelor
quickly replied, stating that tier two wouldn’t occur
until 2005 or 2006.
Former city councilor and audience member Ed Jeffries said the
council is ignoring the will of residents.
“In November, the voters went to the polls and said ‘no’
to downtown revitalization, no to the boardwalk and the whole
thing,” Jeffries said. “But the city chooses to
Celina resident Don Kohnen also chastised members for missteps
in economic development and the Havemann Road widening project,
and said city residents are “paying for administration’s
past judgmental errors.”
In other business, council members:
• Passed an emergency ordinance raising water rates 20
percent, effective March 1.
• Passed the first reading of an ordinance abolishing
the position of executive assistant to the mayor and laying
off the employee who filled the position until recently, Diane
• Entered an executive session to discuss personnel negotiations
involving the executive assistant position. No action was taken
after the closed-door meeting.