Reynoldsburg is crossing its fingers that a state grant will help pave the way for improvements along the Main Street historic district.

The city will apply Monday, Sept. 9, for $2 million in funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

Although the Olde Reynoldsburg area has been "dressed up" in the past with brick sidewalks and decorative street lamps, the infrastructure is worn. Water-line construction two years ago further deteriorated the street, said Ryan Andrews, city engineer.

The first phase would improve Main Street between Davidson Drive and Jackson Avenue. City leaders hope to eventually stretch improvements east to Waggoner Road.

The city's 2018 comprehensive plan calls for "interesting and stimulating pedestrian environments" along Main Street in the Olde Reynoldsburg area with an emphasis on "walkable streets with sidewalks, short blocks and a high-quality streetscape" and "public spaces with attractive landscaping, public art and pedestrian access."

In addition to repaving Main Street and installing new streetlights, landscaped medians and brick sidewalk inlays, plans also call for upgrading a storm sewer that dates to the 1930s, Andrews said.

"That infrastructure has far exceeded its useful life. After heavy rains, you notice water sitting at the edge of the road," he said.

Tree planters that would be installed along Main Street would act as rain gardens and "help remove pollutants from the storm water before it gets to the drains," he said.

Although the roadway wouldn't be widened, larger and more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks are envisioned on each side of the road, resulting in shrinking the traffic lanes from 16 feet to 12 feet, said Andrew Bowsher, development director.

"It's going to slow down traffic," Bowsher said. "Shrinking the lanes down to 12-feet wide ... everything starts to shrink into Olde Reynoldsburg, which slows traffic down considerably. Larger sidewalks allow (the city) to have public functions, farmers markets and things like that without having to close down Main Street."

OPWC funds would account for about half of the first phase's estimated $4.1 million price tag, Bowsher said.

The remaining money is expected to come from $4 million the city spends each year for infrastructure upkeep.

Main Street "basically would become the major project in 2021," Bowsher said.

The city expects to know by December if its grant application is approved, Bowsher said. If the money comes, much of next year would be spent doing design and engineering work, with construction scheduled for 2021.

Reynoldsburg twice was denied OPWC funding to complete work on Palmer Road, a project expected to be finished this year.

"This time we think we're going to change our luck," Bowsher said. "We think it's a very valuable project that's deserving of funding."

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