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Federal funds awarded for local projects

Clark County says funding decrease means fewer grants in future.

Clark County will use $177,000 in grant funds for three infrastructure projects next year, but will likely reduce the number of projects in the coming years because of cuts in funding levels.

The county is allocated Community Development Block Grant funds each year, awarded to low-to-moderate income areas from the federal government through the Ohio Development Services Agency.

David Fleck, grant coordinator for the Clark County Community Development department, said the county uses the annual funding to complete three to four projects, but will likely reduce that number after cuts in funding.

The county received $299,000 in 2010, but the funding has reduced each year since. Last year, the county received $239,000 after receiving $274,000 in 2011.

“It’s going to make it very difficult,” Fleck said. “We’re going to have to probably reduce the number of projects we’re doing each year to ensure we’re making real significant progress on the projects we are doing.”

The three projects include:

• $91,200 for the third phase of drainage improvements in Catawba;

• $48,100 for drainage improvements on Kennedy Drive in Bethel Township; and

• $37,700 for street improvements on John Street and Williams Street in South Charleston.

The entities pay at least a 10 percent match, although that can be difficult with less funds.

“For some communities, 10 percent can be pushing it a lot of times,” Fleck said.

South Charleston village manager Josh Rice said the funding is key to street improvements because of budgetary reasons. The streets are in desperate need of repair, Rice said.

“Things are tight right now, and money is hard to come by for street projects,” Rice said. “We’re happy to receive it.”

New Carlisle was set to receive funds to help match an application for the state’s new Critical Infrastructure Grant program, but the grant application was denied. The funding would have been used for the second phase of the Prentice Drive street project.

Fleck said the department will continue to submit applications for the CIG funding in the future, and could receive up to $300,000 per year for a single project.

“It can be really useful moving forward,” Fleck said.

Fleck said the state is also encouraging counties to be creative with funding and how they seek funding.

“They’re trying to force us to find money from other sources, whether it’s private or federal grants,” Fleck said.

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