County wish list complete

LISBON – State funding is being sought to create a countywide early warning siren system, help pay for a new grandstands at the county fairgrounds, and to fund further study of the U.S. Route 30 project.

State Rep. Nick Barborak, D-Lisbon, said he was asked by county commissioners and the county port authority to request funding for these projects in Ohio General Assembly’s 2014 capital budget, which provides state funding for state and local projects.

“We’re hopeful some of the projects will find there way into a draft of the capital budget early next year,” he said.

Approximately $901,167 is being sought to expand the network of warning sirens beyond those currently located in Knox, Unity, St. Clair, Liverpool and Middleton townships. The money would be used to outfit the other 12 townships and communities within those townships with sirens, thereby creating a countywide system.

As part of the request is another $734,171 to expand the MARCS radio system beyond the county sheriff’s office, highway patrol and Knox Township to all police and fire departments lacking the service. MARCS would link all of the police and fire departments to each other and the siren system.

Funding for this combined project was originally sought from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of a joint application with other counties, but the project was not funded.

Commissioners also asked Barborak to seek $450,000 to help pay for the new grandstands, which is expected to cost $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, the port authority asked Barborak to seek $1 million to hire an engineering firm to come up with a reconfigured plan for turning Route 30 into a freeway from East Canton to state Route 11 in this county. This is in addition to the $500,000 to be awarded for the study by the state controlling board.

The port authority is also seeking $3.5 million in state funding through Barborak to upgrade its riverfront industrial park in Wellsville to accept more cargo. This would include a new crane and conveyer system, freeing up the existing crane to handle the increased demand for steel coil and pipe due to the oil and shale gas boom underway in the region.

Barborak is in his first year in the legislature and sent a letter to all government agencies asking to provide him with any projects they want included for possible funding in the state capital budget. He submitted between six and eight total projects to the finance committee.

“It’s my first capital budget, so it’s all new to me,” he said.