Hilliard Northwest News

State budget bill

$650,000 earmarked for Hilliard projects

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Hilliard will be the beneficiary of two grants totaling $650,000 courtesy of Gov. John Kasich's capital budget bill for 2015-16.

A grant of $500,000 will be available for the development of Hilliard's Station Park in Old Hilliard and $150,000 is earmarked for the Help All Kids Play outdoor sports complex between Cosgray and Leppert roads.

Construction of the former project is scheduled to begin this year, but the latter project requires some additional planning, Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt said.

"We couldn't be more excited," said Schonhardt, who lauded state Sen. Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) and state Rep. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) for their efforts in lobbying Kasich to include the projects in the budget bill.

"Hilliard's Station Park has been a priority for us for years," Schonhardt said.

Hilliard already has bids for the project.

"The bids were a little higher than the engineer's estimates," Schonhardt said, but still within the 10 percent limit allowing to city to accept the lowest and best bid, even if higher than the engineer's estimate.

The companies being considered for the contract are Robertson Construction Services and the Setterlin Building Co.

Robertson's bid was $4,617,000 and Setterlin's was $4,690,000, according to Clark Rausch, deputy city engineer.

The Franklin County Engineer's Office estimate for the project is $4.3 million, and Hilliard has set aside $5 million for the project in the 2014 capital-improvements budget.

The $5 million does not take into account the $500,000 grant.

"The grant will clearly be helpful in hopefully completing the park this year," Schonhardt said.

Hilliard's Station Park will be built at the corner of Main and Center streets, opposite First Responders Park.

While First Responders Park is a memorial, Hilliard's Station Park will be designed for public concerts, farmers markets and other community events.

The park will recognize Hilliard's founder, John Reed Hilliard, and the city's origins as a railroad stop known as Hilliard's Station at its founding in 1853.

As for the $150,000 grant for construction of the Help All Kids Play athletics fields, Schonhardt said, it remains to be seen how the project will move forward.

The Help All Kids Play Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps economically disadvantaged children participate in organized sports, purchased 100 acres in January from Hilliard City Schools to develop the sports complex, but has yet to close on the deal.

Help All Kids Play had 90 days from Jan. 13 -- the day the school board approved the sale -- to pay the district $3.5 million for the 100 acres.

Pat Shivley, founder and managing director of Help All Kids Play, said in January that multiple private investors would provide the required amount. The project is expected to cost $8 million to $10 million for design and construction.

The facility will have 10 to 20 grass fields, two to four synthetic-turf fields and eight ball diamonds, according to Shivley.

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