The Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department has been told by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency that a grant request for more than $80,000 has been recommended for federal funding.
Parks and Recreation Department Director Joe Brown applied for the grant in March to build a sustainable parking lot at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, along with adjacent rain gardens.
To accept the grant, though, the city of Reynoldsburg must pay for 40 percent of the improvement project, or $53,426.
Brown has asked Reynoldsburg City Council to appropriate the already budgeted funds into the parks department's land improvement account.
During council's community development committee meeting Monday, May 20, he said the Ohio EPA sent a breakdown of costs to install 700 feet of rain gardens and 3,000 square feet of pervious pavement for the senior center parking lot, which would allow rainwater to pass through the surface.
The project would include rerouting roof drains on the senior center and resurfacing 17,025 square feet of existing parking lot space adjacent to the building in Huber Park.
The total cost of the project would be $133,564.
Brown wrote in his proposal to council that the parking lot at the senior center, 1520 Davidson Drive, "is in terrible condition and not getting any better or safer for the community."
He said Kurt Keljo, watershed coordinator for the Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District, wrote the grant and would work with him and City Engineer Matt Lambert on the project.
Brown distributed photos of the current parking lot and plans for the permeable pavers and new rain gardens to council members May 20.
"You can see what is occurring on the asphalt surface," he said. "When the parking lot and rain gardens are finished, water will be directed to the rain gardens to create the desired effects of this grant."
The project is not without its critics, although the majority of committee members agreed to send the grant acceptance and appropriation of funds to the full council for a first reading.
"I think it is a complete waste of state and city money, that's my opinion," Councilman Mel Clemens said.
He said the parking lot could be improved less expensively.
City Engineer Matt Lambert said he looked into how much it would cost to repave the lot with asphalt and said it would be in the range of $63,000.
Resident Gary Knapp, who also addressed the issue at an April council meeting, said the city should "not be spending money it does not have." He said a sustainable parking lot could mean a cobblestone-like finish that might not be safe for senior citizens to walk on.
Brown said there are "many ways to connect the pavers" so the surface of the lot would be safe for senior citizens to navigate.
"We are trying to mitigate water flow from the roof of the senior center and parking lot to the permeable pavers and to the rain gardens," he said.
He said once the ordinance to accept the grant and the city appropriation would be approved, the final engineering costs and construction bids would be subject to council approval.
Council's next regular meeting is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, at City Hall, 7232 E. Main St.