The deadline is fast approaching for municipalities in Columbiana County to submit their projects to the state to receive funding through the Governor’s Appalachian Initiative.
The initiative is a new initiative that sees municipalities working together to receive grants as a county instead of competing with each other.
Lisbon Mayor Peter Wilson said the village has four projects it is working on, namely a community center, a bridge linking the Greenway path to Willow Grove park and the rehabilitation of buildings in the city center.
The Lepper Library also hopes to secure funding for repairs to its building, he said.
The village has discussed the need for a community center in the past. Wilson said the center would benefit seniors and young people in the area.
Regarding the bridge project, Wilson also said the village already had $100,000 in funding from the state through a separate program and about $16,000 raised through donations, but that it needed about $600,000 more to complete the project.
“We think it’s important, especially when it comes to tourism. A lot of people use the Greenway Trail,” he said.
He added that the Lisbon Landmark Foundation is working on the rehabilitation of buildings in the city center and that the grant funding would contribute to this endeavour.
“One of the goals of the county’s proposal is downtown revitalization with the goal of attracting new businesses and creating jobs,” he said.
He noted that several buildings across the county feature “amazing architecture” but are unfortunately in poor condition.
“We believe that if we restore them, it will attract jobs,” he said.
The first phase of the Appalachian Initiative is a $250,000 grant that would be awarded to the county as a whole by the state that would cover counseling costs, if approved.
Then, at a later date, the county may be eligible to receive a portion of the nearly $500 million in funding made available to Ohio’s 32 counties.
Funding is possible through Ohio House Bill 377 signed by Governor Mike DeWine in June.
“This is a great opportunity for Lisbon and a great opportunity for Columbiana County. We just have to make the best offer,” said Wilson.
Columbiana officials also discussed the grant in their meetings.
Mayor Rick Noel said he was pleased to see that the program promotes collaboration among municipalities in the county.
“They don’t want you to be competitive, they want you to work regionally,” he said at a previous meeting. “They want to see if you can work together on something about economic development. It was interesting to see how the State Department of Development is trying to work with our regional planning districts to come up with a proposal. »
Columbiana City Manager Lance Willard also said the Port Authority and County Development Department and the Ohio Mid-Eastern Government’s Association have worked with communities to ensure they are “well prepared.”
“There are a lot of conversations going on. I think we will jump in and be ready to anticipate what happens,” Willard said.