City must choose alternative projects for grant

Members of Tiffin City Council gathered for a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss possible Community Development Block Grant projects for the city.

Earlier this week, Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. Director of Development Karen Bowers told council this year’s CDBG program has been completely revamped and there have been several changes made.

The city is guaranteed $75,000, but the city also could be eligible for up to $600,000 with additional set aside projects, Bowers said.

The city could apply for two of three set aside programs, which include a critical infrastructure program and a neighborhood revitalization program for a low-to moderate-income area, and a downtown revitalization program.

Two projects discussed at the city council meeting were extending Fair Lane to US 224 and extending a low-to moderate-income area to include the 25 E. Market St. property the city recently agreed

to purchase and to use set aside money to demolish the two


During Thursday night’s meeting, Bowers said those projects would not be possible this year.

She said the city would not be able to extend the scope of a low-to moderate-income area that runs down West Perry Street to Frost Parkway and West Market to Benner Street, to include the property because “the Sandusky River is a distinct geological boundary between those two neighborhoods.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said when the city purchased the property, he was not aware of the additional CDBG funds, and extending the LMI area was a new idea to demolish the buildings.

“I just want people to be clear that we’re not sitting here disappointed,” he said. “We’re going to continue to pursue them with the venture capital money, like council originally planned. We thought it’d be a nice way to save the city money on the demo, it’s not going to work, but there’s always other options.”

Bowers said Fair Lane would be a good project for CDBG, but there is not enough time before the June 21 deadline to work out a complete plan.

“It’s wonderful and I want to see it done,” Montz said of the Fair Lane extension project. “It will be priority No. 1 for next year.”

Councilman Jim Roberts suggested making improvements to Hedges Park, often called “Little Hedges Park” located near Calvert High School.

Montz said improving the Rebecca Street, Schonhardt Street, Tiffin Street and Madison Street neighborhood, was a project he discussed with City Engineer Curtis Eagle.

He said the city could add more lighting to the park and add a fence around the park with a couple of entry points. He said the city also could use the money to improve roads in that area, which is one of three LMI areas in Tiffin where the set aside projects are eligible.

“It’s in the First Ward, it’s in my backyard, I think you got an excellent idea that,” Roberts said.

Councilman Rich Cline also suggested making improvements to South River Road. He said the city could use the CDBG money to improve the road conditions, widen the road, include a walking path and add lighting along the road.

Bowers said she will discuss these ideas with the field representative she is working with for CDBG.

The first public hearing for CDBG is at 1 p.m. May 21 at the SIEDC office, 19 W. Market St., Suite C.