Commissioners apply for grant to replace East Palestine bridge

LISBON – Columbiana County commissioners reported their application for a $300,000 state grant to replace a crumbling bridge in East Palestine has been approved.

Commissioners learned the grant had been approved after being advised at their board meeting on Wednesday by Pam Dray of the county development department.

The money will be used to replace the Sumner Street bridge in East Palestine, which has partially collapsed. The bridge spans a creek and serves as a direct thoroughfare for police and firefighters to get to the east side of town.

Commissioners agreed in early June to seek $300,000 in funding from the state through a new federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program created specifically for addressing critical infrastructure problems. Dray said only commissioners can apply for the money, which is why they agreed to do so on behalf of East Palestine.

The cost of the project is $325,000, and $20,000 of the grant covers the county’s administrative costs. East Palestine is contributing $31,000, while commissioners also agreed to provide $15,000 from the county revolving loan fund program.

Commissioner Chairman Mike Halleck said they were glad to help.

In other action at this week’s meeting, Commissioner Tim Weigle reported the county’s share for continued participation in the Multi-County Juvenile Attention System (MCJAS) will drop by $239,000 next year.

MCJAS was created to provide state-mandated juvenile detention services for member counties, and the annual contributions are based on the previous year’s usage. According to Weigle, the county’s 2012 contribution (based on 2011 usage) was just over $1 million, but he learned the actual 2012 usage totaled $809,679. This will result in the county getting a $239,000 credit off next year’s MCJAS bill.