July 1, 2016

Partly sunny

Medina seeks ways to pay for numerous trail projects

MEDINA — Medina has several trail projects it wants to complete, but how to pay for them is a question City Council plans to answer tonight. Two main projects in question could be funded through a Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency Transportation Enhancement Grant, for which the city has not yet applied. Council could choose to file jointly with the Medina County Park District for the NOACA grant to link the Rea­gan Parkway Multi-Purpose Path with the Lake Medina Trail.

The grant also could help fund the East Smith Road Corridor project, which would add bike lanes to South Court Street along with streetscap­ing, and link the bike lanes to an extended Roscoe-Ewing Trail with a Clean Ohio Trails Grant the city recently was awarded.

All the grants require a percentage of local matching funding, leaving the city with out-of-pocket costs for each project.

It would cost the city approxi­mately $31,000 to fund the $752,770 joint park district project, $121,000 for the $606,000 East Smith Road project and $68,000 for the $657,938 Roscoe-Ewing Trail extension proj­ect.

Combined, the projects would cost an estimated $220,000.

“The question for everybody is, what is the priority?” At­large Councilman John Coyne said during a recent Finance Committee meeting.

Council originally planned to apply for the NOACA grant, but tabled a decision.

“Our plan Monday is to pro­vide (Council) with a number of funding options: Could we save up reserves to do it? Can we use unappropriated funds? Could we use the FirstEnergy money for that?” Mayor Den­nis Hanwell said Friday, refer­ring to the one-time grant of up to $186,900 the city could receive through FirstEnergy’s electric aggregation program.

Any decision, Hanwell said, is ultimately Council’s.

“I think each of these grants in their own right are viable and will be productive for the city, but do we have enough money to match them? Which are going to give us the best bang for our buck?” he said.

The Finance Committee meets at 5:30 tonight at City Hall, 132 N. Elmwood Ave., fol­lowed by a special Council meeting to discuss funding pri­orities.

On the table are:

• Applying with the county Park District for a NOACA Transportation Enhancement Grant to partially fund linking the city’s 1.6-mile multipur­pose Reagan Parkway path with the 1.4-mile Lake Medina path. The city would have to fund the 0.4-mile connecting trail that would start at Granger Road and head northwest along Reagan Parkway, which borders Reagan Park. City Parks Director Tim Swanson said it would cost the city approximately $31,000.

• UsingNOACA grant funds for the East Smith Road Corridor project, which would create a bike path on South Court Street that could connect to an extended Roscoe-Ewing multi­purpose trail and to the county Park District’s Chippewa Rail Trail in Lafayette Township. It also would fund sidewalk repairs and widening, restoring damaged tree lawns, improv­ing truck radius turns and revising storm grates to create rain gardens along parts of South Court Street, East Smith Road and South Broadway Street. It would cost the city approximately $121,000.

• The city has been awarded a $479, 938 Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Clean Ohio Trails Grant to extend the 1.2­mile Roscoe-Ewing Trail west by 0.9 mile from Guilford Boulevard through the unfin­ished Nichol’s Park to South Broadway Street just south of the railroad tracks, Planning Director Greg Hannan said. In addition to the trails grant, the city received approximately $110,000 from the ODNR’s Recreational Trails Program, which the city was eligible for once it applied for the Clean Ohio Trails Grant. The city’s portion of the extension would be approximately $68,000.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.