Marietta council reviews grant spending recommendations

Marietta City Council reviewed recommended spends for the 2019 federal grant funds Wednesday.

The grant funds anticipated in 2019 to come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program total $410,000.

Recommendations made by Development Director Andy Coleman included money for city-wide foot and bike patrols for police, funding for in-city Community Action Bus Line routes, upgrades to the city’s aquatic center and funds for dead and diseased tree removal on public property.

“We did see an increase in the Community Action request to further fund the bus routes, solely within the city, which is a restriction for these funds,” noted Coleman. “That request increased from last year. They asked $37,000 to this year’s $40,000.”

Coleman noted two related requests to the bus routes were better signage for bus stops throughout the city, which was recommended at $750 and an updated and better circulated map of the bus routes which was not recommended for funding because Washington-Morgan Community Action is already in the process of creating one without city funds.

But what did not see recommended funding were 10 Harmar-specific requests, five requests concerning Norwood and two concerning Indian Acres Park.

Coleman explained to Councilman Geoff Schenkel that one request in Harmar, to address the disability-accessibility of the sidewalks at the Franklin and Maple streets intersection, was not possible because of the brick street.

But other streets in town, including the Third and Putnam streets intersection, allow for crosswalk-specific upgrades for ADA compliance, Schenkel pointed out.

The public will have three opportunities to voice opinions and concerns about these recommendations before Oct. 15. Other requests not funded included a request for funding to address blight in the city and a request from city administration for $5,000 in matching funds to aid in East Muskingum Park restoration work.

But Councilwoman Cindy Oxender did thank Coleman for including $20,000 in recommended funding for dead and diseased tree removal, speaking as the liaison to the city’s tree commission.

“I’ve talked with a number of people on the tree commission and they were very appreciative,” she said.

Council will again meet today for a special council meeting at 11 a.m., a streets committee meeting at 4 p.m. and a lands, buildings and parks committee meeting at 4:30 p.m. in room 10 of the Armory, 241 Front St.