Salem council gives parks board OK to seek grant

SALEM — City council gave approval Tuesday for the Salem Parks Commission to seek a NatureWorks grant to renovate restrooms at Waterworth Memorial Park.

The resolution was passed with the emergency clause and all three readings at once with no discussion.

The commission hosted a recent public hearing on the application, noting this will be the first time for the city to seek the grant offered through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The amount available for Columbiana County is $71,814 and the park district is requesting up to $45,000 from the grant.

The filing deadline for the application is June 1, with the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association handling the application on the city’s behalf. Trina Woodland, a community development specialist with OMEGA, said the fact that they’re not asking for the entire allocation and that it’s the city’s first time will up their points in the scoring.

The grant covers 75 percent of a project cost, with the parks commission responsible for the other 25 percent, which can come from department funding and in-kind from use of department equipment or labor.

Woodland said previously that the award won’t be issued until fall, so the project probably won’t take place until 2020.

Parks Director Shane Franks said previously that it’s been several years since any major work was done on those restrooms, which are attached to the concession stand not far from the duck pond. With improvements recently around the duck pond and work being done on the tennis courts, he said he’s expecting more people in the park. Improved restrooms would benefit all park users.

In other business, council approved the issuance of a new note for the street improvements loan. City Auditor Betty Brothers said the current $3 million note is maturing. The city will pay down $1 million using income from the .25 percent additional income tax and then do a new note for $2 million. She said the interest rate will be 2.5 percent. The loan paid for the paving the first couple of years of the levy up front, with the levy being used to repay it.

Council also passed a resolution commending Mike Bibbee for his dedicated service to the city as the city electrician for the past 30 years. His service began on March 6, 1989 and his retirement took effect March 29 this year.

Several council members also congratulated Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart for his selection as a Citizen of Honor for 2019 by the Salem Historical Society. He’ll be honored, along with Karen Carter and the late Richard Wootten, during the Founder’s Day Dinner on April 30.

Councilman Sal Salvino said he was mad when he read about recent vandalism incidents at Centennial Park. He urged people to call police if they see something going on at the parks.

Franks issued a reminder about the Easter egg hunt for kids 10 and under being co-sponsored by the parks and Berkshire Hathaway at 11 a.m. Saturday at Waterworth Memorial Park. The Easter Bunny will be present.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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