Pickerington Times-Sun

19 applicants chosen for Olde Village matching grants

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A program offering home and business owners in Olde Pickerington Village the opportunity to renovate the exterior of their properties with the assistance of a matching grant of up to $750 cash assistance received a total of 38 applications by its Aug. 30 deadline.

According to Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance, 19 qualified applicants were chosen to participate in the program.

The "2012 Olde Village (CRA) Exterior Improvements Matching Funds Program" will take almost $13,000 the city has received this year through its natural gas aggregation program with Volunteer Energy and apply it towards helping those that own property in what is termed the "community reinvestment area."

The CRA is defined as properties that are located on or adjacent to Borland Street from Hill Road to Cross Street, on Church Street from Hill Road to East Street and on Columbus Street from Hill Road South to Unity Church.

The property owners approved for the grants are required to spend money out of pocket for the repairs or renovations to the exterior of their buildings.

The city will then kick in 50 percent of the amount expended by the grantees up to $750.

"The matching grants are for exterior alterations and improvements," said Joe Henderson, Pickerington's Development Services Director.

"Those receiving the grants must complete the work by Nov. 15 and have the improvements verified by (city) staff," he said.

"Once verified the city will pay back the amount requested by the applicant up to the stated dollar amount of the matching fund."

Henderson said applicants "must provide receipts in order to get refunded."

Vance said the successful applicants were chosen by Pickerington's Finance Committee at its Sept. 5 meeting.

He said additional recommendations were provided by Henderson and City Planner Clement Chukwu, who "are leading city staff's ongoing Olde Village Revitalization support efforts."

In March, Pickerington-based Volunteer Energy Services, Inc. provided the city with a $13,742 payment as part of a 2009 natural gas aggregation agreement with the city whereupon the company agreed to contribute five cents to the city for every 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas sold in Pickerington.

Vance said the matching grant program had its successful debut last year.

"This is the second Olde Village matching grant opportunity provided by Pickerington's Mayor and City Council," Vance said.

"The first such opportunity was in 2011 and $11,000 in city-provided Olde Village CRA matching funds stimulated approximately $38,000 in 2011 Olde Village CRA exterior improvements," he said.

Vance said the expected dollar amount in improvements generated by the implementation of the program for 2012 will likely far surpass last year's total.

"The city is investing $12,803 in matching grants and the grand total amount of Olde Village CRA exterior improvements are currently projected to equate to $54,468.16," he said.

"This represents almost a 4 to 1 return on these Volunteer Energy-provided city investments," Vance said.

If the Olde Village CRA Matching grant program is carried out in 2013, Vance said the approval of grant submissions will be subject to a weighted criteria that will take into consideration the dollar amount in improvements generated by the matching grant, whether an applicant received any grants in the past, and the order in which the grant application is received by the city.

Vance said the matching grant program is an example of the pro-active approach the city is taking with regards to revitalization of Olde Village, one that "emphasizes the creation of continual improvement opportunities whenever possible and when doing so (we're) always seeking the chance to work with public or private partners to maximize community benefits associated with the city's investment of public funds."

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