City engineer Jim Miller said last week that cooperation and local matching funds are key to convincing the Ohio Public Works Commission to award state money for Summit Road improvements.

City engineer Jim Miller said last week that cooperation and local matching funds are key to convincing the Ohio Public Works Commission to award state money for Summit Road improvements.

Speaking at a public hearing Aug. 20 about the project, Miller said participation from other entities is needed to increase the score awarded to the OPWC grant application.

The total cost of proposed Summit Road improvements is just under $6-million.

Miller said he is in the process of preparing the grant application, which is due Monday, Sept. 8.

He said he is still in discussions with the three other main players in the application process: the Reynoldsburg school district, Etna Township and Licking County commissioners.

"If awarded, the grant will help fund 74.9 percent of the entire project," he said. "The required match from the local governments to build this road is 25.1 percent of the total project cost Therefore, the local match for our application where we need it to score for funding is about $1.5-million."

Miller said Etna Township trustees, Licking County commissioners, private landowners, Reynoldsburg schools and the city have all been approached about contributing toward the $1.5-million needed to score well on the OPWC application.

"The conversations of what money is going where is still ongoing, so I can't tell you at this time who is going to contribute what," Miller said.

He did mention the city's portion of the project is $850,000. He said he will be asking city council for approval of that amount within the next couple of weeks.

"I can tell you, Etna Township has made no commitment to me yet, but they are excited to participate in this job and they are evaluating their financial well-being to decide whether they can participate," he said.

The proposed improvements are for a section of Summit Road from East Main Street (U.S. Route 40) north to Refugee Road. They include new curbs and gutter work, enclosed storm sewers and new lighting.

Miller said plans also call for an eight-foot leisure path on the east side of the road and a four-foot sidewalk on the west side, plus two new traffic signals at the intersection of Summit Road and East Main Street and one at the proposed future site of a new Reynoldsburg High School entrance near the Taylor Woods subdivision.

The OPWC will is expected to notify the city by January 2009 if the grant money has been awarded.

"And again, that depends on how well we score on it and if we can get everyone involved to participate," Miller said.

"I will apply regardless of who participates; however, if some key components of this application, primarily the Reynoldsburg schools, are not willing to participate, this project loses a lot of its attributes in the application's scoring," he said.

"The same is true about Etna Township. Those two partners in this project are very important, but the same is true about Licking County's participation it's very imperative that everybody participate," he said.

If the grant application is successful, Miller said engineering on the project will begin by mid-2009 with construction started by March 2010 and finished by December that year.

dowen@thisweeknews.com