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11-02-05 Hoping to revitalize Celina’s center

By Tim Cox

  Celina city officials plan to call together downtown business and property owners to create a plan that could land the city $400,000 in downtown revitalization money from the state.

Building facades along Celina's downtown district could get a facelift if the city and downtown property owners are  successful in securing a $400,000 revitalization grant. The money also could be used for other improvements, including sidewalks or improved lighting.<br></br>

  Kent Bryan, the city's community development consultant, said he plans to organize a series of meetings in the near future to talk with downtown business and property owners about potential improvements.

  Business owners who rent their facilities are not actually eligible for grant assistance, but their input is necessary for the revitalization effort, Bryan said.

  Property owners would have to provide some matching money to take advantage of the program.

  "What we need to do is put together a downtown revitalization plan by next May," Bryan said.  A formal plan is a requirement to access the state grant money. The program, run through the Ohio Department of Development, is aimed at downtown revitalization to eliminate blight and create and retain jobs for low- and moderate-income residents.

  The money could be used to refurbish building facades, replace sidewalks, add decorative lighting or other physical improvements.

  The city of Maumee near Toledo received the $400,000 grant in 2003 and used it to renovate 20 building facades, 15 building interiors, and install new curbs, sidewalks, electric lines and parking lots.

  Exact projects for Celina would be worked out during the course of meetings with business owners based on rules of the program, Bryan said.


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