From Staff Reports
PAULDING – The Black Swamp Nature Center has been awarded a project grant through Ohio’s 2014 Capital Budget.
Gov. John R. Kasich, Senate President Keith Faber and House Speaker William G. Batchelder unveiled the Capital Budget in Columbus on March 19. The more than $2.386 billion in appropriations includes significant new support for local communities’ construction priorities as part of an overall plan for needed improvements to Ohio’s public facilities, including local schools, colleges and universities, parks and prisons.
Paulding County is one of 74 counties to receive funding.
The Black Swamp Nature Center is slated to receive a $21,525 grant through Ohio Department of Natural Resources to pave the parking lot at the education center, located along Fairground Drive in Paulding.
The nature center is owned by the county and operated by Paulding Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD).
“Tony Burkley (state representative) called me on Monday and notified me the grant went through,” said SWCD education specialist Mark Holtsberry. He said Burkley had phoned him and said money was still available for ODNR funding and encouraged Holtsberry to write a grant proposal for the paving project.
“Tony initiated the contact. It was his idea to apply,” Holtsberry added.
The entire funding request has been approved. Paving could be completed in mid-August, following preparation and drainage work.
A paved parking area will increase accessibility for handicapped individuals, school buses and senior citizens’ transportation, as well making the education center more attractive.
For more information about the 51-acre nature center, visit www.pauldingswcd.org.
The Capital Budget is generally enacted every two years to fund the most pressing construction and maintenance needs of state government, schools and higher education, with priority given to improvements that boost job creation and economic growth. Recommendations for funding in this year’s plan came from a variety of sources, including both metropolitan and rural communities. Funding recommendations for Ohio’s museums, performing arts facilities and other cultural venues were also received from leaders of Ohio’s arts community.
Once fully enacted, Ohio’s proposed new public construction budget will create approximately 31,000 new jobs over the next several years from the $2.386 billion it injects into needed repairs, maintenance and construction of publicly owned buildings and other infrastructure at the state and local level.
The capital budget includes:
• $675 million for local school construction, including repairs, renovations and new primary and secondary education facilities;
• $454.5 million for Ohio’s 37 public colleges and universities;
• $369 million for local infrastructure projects administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission, including upgrades, replacement and new construction of local roads and bridges, storm and sanitary sewers, water lines and other vital infrastructure;
• $100 million for the Clean Ohio program to improve outdoor recreational opportunities and to fund the preservation of open spaces and farmlands;
• $574.3 million for maintenance and renovations at state-owned facilities including Ohio State Parks, state prisons, mental health facilities and other public facilities.
Details of the Capital Budget Bill can be found at http://obm.ohio.gov/SectionPages/Budget/FY1516/Default.aspx.