Ferry working hard to secure grant

MARTINS FERRY – City leadership is seemingly looking to do everything possible on its end to give the community its best chance at receiving an Ohio Public Works Grant.

Director of Development Kathy Gagin reported during Monday’s meeting that the city’s grant application received a preliminary score of 400.

This particular grant application called for a 16 percent match for the city – $94,460 in this case – for a sizable paving project that would see all of South Zane Highway paved, from beginning to end, along with a few other streets.

Gagin noted that if the city amended the application and increased its match from 16 to 21 percent – bringing the match total to $123,978 – it would give the city 10 additional points on the application.

Gagin also noted of an upcoming OPWC county subcommittee meeting taking place at the Belmont County commissioner’s office later this month.

During that meeting, a fifth member will be added to the subcommittee that already includes Belmont County Engineer Fred Bennett, Commissioner Chuck Probst, Richland Township Trustee Greg Bizzarri and Powhatan Point Mayor Mark McVey.

Also on the agenda at that meeting will be prioritizing applications received from Belmont County communities applying for funding from the OPWC.

Gagin and Mayor Paul Riethmiller both urged all councilmen that are able to attend to do so in support of Ferry’s grant application.

Additional points will be awarded to the application by the committee, and Riethmiller explained that he was told there was strength in numbers, noting the more that showed up in support, the better.

Later in the meeting, an official motion was made to appropriate $123,978 for the grant application, increasing the match amount to 21 percent. This motion passed 7-0, giving the city 10 additional points and bring its preliminary score to 410.

After the county subcommittee meeting has ended and the city tallies up any additional points it may receive, the application will then be submitted to the OPWC, which will compare point totals of projects all across the state and devise a ranking system to see which projects will receive funding.

The first reading of a pair of ordinances was held Thursday, including one allowing Safety Director Bill Suto to solicit bids for the purchase of a new ambulance for the EMS department. Councilman Robert Duncan motioned to suspend the rules to have the second and third readings, but his motion failed to receive a second.

The other ordinance dealt with the position of EMS captain.

A motion was passed giving the OK for the city to makes its annual donation to the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce for Christmas lights. The amount was $1,500 and the motion passed 7-0.

Fire Chief Jack Regis noted there will be a change to the parade route for this year’s city Christmas parade put on by his department. To coincide with the Christmas in the Park celebration, the parade will turn down Hanover and up Fourth Street, eventually ending in front of the American Legion building. This will be done so that the crowd in attendance can be easily transitioned across the street to the city park, where the new festivities will be ongoing.

Gagin noted that the city is hosting a business round table with Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel on Wednesday at 9 a.m. inside the rec center. The discussion will be geared toward programs offered to assist long-term, new and would be business owners. Those wishing to attend are asked to call Gagin’s office at (740) 609-3709 to register.

Trick or treat in the city park will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26 from noon until 2 pm. The Martins Ferry Police Department is still accepting donations and all local businesses are encouraged to come to the park and put up your pop-up tent and participate. The official door-to-door trick or treat will take place on Halloween Night on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 6-7 p.m.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com