November 22, 2014

Medina
Flurries
35°F

State funding for capital improvements grants county half-million

The $2.4 billion state capital improvements budget signed by Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday includes more than $500,000 for four agencies that serve Medina County:

• Medina Creative Housing;

• Medina Community Recreation Center;

• York Township Park;

• Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties.

The bill includes funding for higher education, road and bridge repairs, state and local parks, and improving public schools.

The measure cleared the Ohio Senate by a vote of 30-1 on Tuesday and made no changes to the bill submitted by the Ohio House last week.

Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, said the Senate worked closely with the House to move along the legislation.

“It should be signed quickly and in place soon,” Obhof said.

About $120 million of the funds approved came from special bonds approved by voters.

Obhof said it was good to see money coming back to Medina County.

“Improvements to the Medina Community Rec Center are being financed by those bonds,” he said.

The $30,000 set aside in the budget for the Medina Community Recreation Center came from the Parks and Recreation Improvement Fund. That fund also financed $150,000 for the York Township Park.

Two other projects that serve Medina include $300,000 for the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties through funds issued by the University of Akron, and $50,000 was directed to Medina Creative Housing under funds set aside for the Department of Developmental Disabilities.

York Township Park

The township plans to purchase nearly 12 acres adjacent to York Township Park on Columbia Road just north of Fenn Road with the $150,000 set aside in the capital budget. The property once included a school building, but it was torn down when a new owner purchased it from the school, township Trustee Colene Conley said.

“The new owners are willing to sell it to us,” Conley said. “We were on a tight budget to purchase it without the funding.”

Conley thanked state Rep. Dave Hall, R-Millersburg, who approached the township asking how he could help secure funds. Conley also thanked Medina County Auditor Michael Kovack for helping the township prepare the maps needed to apply for the funds.

“We’re so thankful everyone worked to help make this come to fruition,” she said.

York doesn’t yet have any plans for the property, but Conley said township officials would discuss plans once they get the money in hand and secure the property.

“We’ll have to work up a plan,” she said. “Right now we’re just so thankful for this opportunity.”

Medina Community Recreation Center

Medina officials said they plan to use the $30,000 set aside to add eight to nine handicapped parking spaces.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell said the current 12 parking spaces aren’t enough to serve elderly members and physical therapy patients who receive treatment at the rec center.

“Because the hospital does physical therapy for our senior citizens, we generally fill up all the space we have,” Hanwell said.

The new spaces would be added to a grassy area adjacent to the parking lot near the front of the rec center.

“It’s an obvious need and we want to better serve the people who use our center,” Hanwell said.

Medina Creative Housing

Medina Creative Housing Director Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty said the $50,000 in the capital budget would be used to help secure a conceptual project that would allow the agency to establish a retail and bike rental shop at city-owned property at 406 S. Broadway St.

Medina Creative Housing helps provide housing and employment benefits for people living with disabilities. DePasquale-Hagerty said the shop would provide vocational training and employment for students and adults with disabilities.

The money included in the Ohio capital budget is just one of a few sources of funding MCH has applied for, DePasquale-Hagerty said. The plan would keep the historic home on the property intact, and utilize the downstairs of the house for the shop and bike rental.

“It’s still conceptual; but when we sum it all up, we’ll present it to Council,” she said.

Battered Women’s Shelter

The shelter, which serves women in Medina and Summit counties, is expected to get $300,000 distributed through the University of Akron to make major improvements to the Summit County facility that will allow the shelter to serve male victims of abuse and elderly people who are victims of elder abuse.

Two years ago, the shelter was able to get an old nursing home for free, and the $300,000 would be used to renovate it to serve battered women, Executive Director Terri Heckman said. The new facility could serve up to 100 people at a time, more than the two current Summit County shelters combined.

The new shelter will have more room to house male victims the agency currently refers to homeless shelters, and to serve elderly people who are victims of domestic violence.

“It’s already handicapped accessible, so it will be easy to accommodate victims of elder abuse,” she said.

While the monetary improvements are being made in Summit County, Heckman said the agency will serve Medina residents at the new facility. Elderly and male victims in Medina likely would be housed at the Summit facility, and sometimes Medina residents who are in danger in Medina County or are seeking employment or school options in Summit County would be moved to the shelter in Summit County.

“Just because we’re doing something new and creative in one county, doesn’t mean people from Medina County won’t be served by the facility,” she said.

The money for the shelter renovations is coming from Akron University in exchange for offering internship opportunities for Akron students at the shelter.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.