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State capital budget includes $4M for Clark County projects

The proposed state capital budget for 2015 and 2016 included more than $4 million for projects in Clark County, which hasn’t received state capital budget money for community-based projects since 2008.

The budget could provide for the completion of several high priority local projects, in addition to grants for research and development hangars at the Ohio/Indiana UAS Test Center, a downtown parking garage, and new agriculture and bioscience program at Clark State Community College.

If approved by lawmakers, the state budget would give $75,000 to finish restoration at the Gammon House, a designated Underground Railroad historical site in Springfield.

Betty Grimes, chairwoman of the volunteer committee working to renovate the home on Piqua Place, called the money “a blessing,” and said it will allow the grassroots group to complete the interior of the home.

“Every single year (since 1998) we’ve had to raise a little bit more,” Grimes said.

State Rep. Ross McGregor, R-Springfield, included the project in his requests to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, which made recommendations to Gov. John Kasich’s office for inclusion in the $2.4 billion spending bill.

Clark State also requested $275,000 to replace the roof of its performing arts center, along with HVAC and security upgrades at that building. That money was requested through a statewide Capital Arts and Culture Committee, which Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin was a member of, and was included in Kasich’s proposed budget unveiled this week.

The college will also receive more than $2 million if the budget is approved for energy efficiency improvements. Numerous Ohio schools received money for this purpose as part of a joint request by university presidents to cut campus operating costs in the future.

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