Greenfield gearing up for grant-funded projects; Opt-out gas aggregation program to be voted on in May 2 primary
April's citizen of the month is Mike Seely, who is pictured (center) with (l-r) council members Phil Clyburn, Cory Taylor, Mary Ellen McMurry, Brenda Losey, Jessalynn Hunter, and city manager Todd WIlkin at the April 17 council meeting. (Photo by Angela Shepherd)
By Angela Shepherd
Village of Greenfield
Greenfield is gearing up for grant-funded projects, according to the city manager during his report to council at its meeting Monday April 17.
City manager Todd Wilkin showcased this part of his report as “great wins” that have come for the village over the last month. These include being the recipient of two CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) awards, one for two new tornado sirens and the other for a project to alleviate the massive flooding that occurs at Sycamore Circle on the west end of town.
More wins, Wilkin reported, were that the village is the recipient of a $450,000 grant and a 0% interest $1 million loan for rebuilding the infrastructure of a portion of Fourth Street. The village is also in the final stages of being awarded more than a million and a half dollars for a phase one water repair.
In addition to all this, the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant to upgrade the railroad, which was awarded a couple years ago, is finally set to begin this year.
To recap, the federal CRISI grant is worth $1.7 million. As it is a 50/50 grant, the village worked to pull together another $1.7 million in funding, which came from partnerships with local, county, state, and federal entities. Wilkin also reported that the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) is seeking additional grant funding for the project that is available to offset material cost increases since the grant was first awarded.
Another win, OHM Advisors, which the village has worked with on other projects, has been assigned as Greenfield’s procured planners through funding through the Appalachian Community Grant. Wilkin said Greenfield submitted four projects which were a parks district, downtown streetscape, downtown boutique hotel, and an art/music history museum. OHM Advisors, in its assigned role, will help develop the plan, and then in the fall, Wilkin said, the village will apply for the funding through the Appalachian Community Grant to carry out the plans.
In other business, Mike Seely of Seely Portraits was recognized as April’s citizen of the month. Described by Wilkin as “a wonderful man with an infectious smile,” Seely devotes himself to the community, services which include seeing to the sponsorships aspect of the Mitchell Park Youth Sports League and making sure all the programs get funded. His hours of service to several projects in and around Greenfield is greatly appreciated. Seely also contributed the several framed prints depicting Greenfield scenes that hang in the council chambers, and many of his images are used on the village’s Facebook page and website, all of which showcase Seely’s talent.
Council member Brenda Losey added that when her daughter, Hannah Losey, passed away before her senior pictures could be taken, Seely made sure the Losey family had a senior picture of their daughter. It’s an act that Losey said means so very much to her and her family.
The April employee of the month is Wilkin, who just celebrated five years as Greenfield City Manager. As stated by office manager and council clerk Sherry Parker, Wilkin, who is a man of God who takes pride in his family and in serving the community of Greenfield, is recognized for his service to the community, his willingness to listen to the public and his coworkers, even when it’s outside working hours, and his tireless efforts on grants, workforce development, and meeting with local business and industry leaders.
In his report, Wilkin also discussed that the only matter for Greenfield on the ballot for the May 2 primary is that of natural gas aggregation.
Greenfield previously had an opt-in program, but the company that was through went out of business. Since the new program is an opt-out, it requires a vote by the citizenry. Wilkin urged everyone to get out on May 2 and vote yes on the gas aggregation program, as it could mean significant savings for residents.
As prices of seemingly everything are on the rise, an aggregation program is an opportunity to lock-in better rates. That’s happened with the electric aggregation program as those in it are paying 4.58 cents per kilowatt hour, but current AES pricing is 10.91 cents per kilowatt hour, Wilkin said. Anyone with questions about a high electric bill can contact the village offices or the village’s aggregation partner, Art Deininger at 216-548-7936.
As previously reported, selling the historic windows that have been replaced out of the city building was under consideration by council members, who have now approved legislation splitting the 80 windows into lots of four and accepting sealed bids. As the legislation was just passed, it will not go into effect for 30 days.
Wilkin said bid packets for the sale of the windows will become available at the city building in the coming weeks. Watch for more information on the village’s website. According to the city manager, while there are varying sizes in the windows, two of the most common sizes are 79 inches by 37-½ inches and 80-½ inches by 37-½ inches. There are 22 each of those windows.
The preliminary numbers for the month as reported by finance director Gary Lewis are: month-to-date revenue - $325,777; month-to-date expense - $293,567; year-to-date revenue - $1.12 million; year-to-date expense - $718,290; and a general fund balance of $473,521.
The Greenfield council meets in regular session on the first and third Monday of each month at 4:45 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the city building. Meetings are typically streamed live on Facebook. For information and updates, go to greenfieldohio.net. The village offices may be reached by calling 937-981-3500.
Greenfield City Manager Todd WIlkin (left) is pictured during his report to council at the April 17 regular council meeting. Finance director Gary Lewis is also pictured. (Photo by Angela Shepherd)