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Columbiana seeks funding to expand industrial park

Samantha Rhoades was sworn in as a part-time officer at this week’s Columbiana council meeting. Behind her is Chief William Myers.

COLUMBIANA — City Manager Lance Willard notified city council Tuesday that he had sent an application for project funding from a special congressional program, specifically local Congressman Bill Johnson.

The funding was reserved to complete infrastructure projects which can be applied to completing the industrial park.

Because of the need to show community support and reflect the need for the infrastructure project, Mayor Rick Noel, Dan Bekar and the American Legion wrote letters of support.

The industrial park is to be extended from the already existing manufacturing quarter.

Because the property belonging to the American Legion is east of the proposed industrial park, letters of support from the American Legion were ideal when establishing the community engagement required with the funding application.

Willard explained that the grant was bought to his attention on short notice and was done a tight timeline, April 9, giving him two days.

The funds requested were $2,732,930. The Columbiana Port Authority is committing $500,000 to the project while the city is also committing $500,000 from its capital improvement fund.

Willard credited the American Legion for putting together a special meeting and the port authority for their quick actions.

“I hope to make it clear that these federal grant requests that Lance put together for us could be a tremendous asset to this city if we could get another industrial park in our community,” said Noel

Noel said that an additional industrial park is something Columbiana is in desperate need of.

In other business Willard also wanted to thank the Rural Community Assistance Program for providing a grant that allowed both Noel and Willard to attend a virtual conference. The chamber was also able to get involved.

In other business, a petition to run a sewer line along state Route 14 toward Kufleitner’s auto dealership was filed

Mark Hutson, Municipal Attorney, explained that the project will be a special assessment project done according to the benefit of the properties.

Filing the petition will be the first step in the project, once the petition is filed the engineer will prepare plans, specifications and cost estimates. The data from the engineer will be assessed and afterwards council will be asked to take a resolution of necessity.

The resolution is expected to be brought forward in May.

If anyone in the area has objections an equalization board would be arranged to hear the objections. If there are no objections an ordinance to proceed would be bought to council.

The cost of the project is paid by the properties benefited over a period of 20 years.

Council moved forward by accepting the petition subject to amendment. Hutson explained that the acceptance of the petition allows him to prepare the resolution for the first meeting in May.

In other matters, Samantha Rhoades was sworn in as a part-time officer during council Tuesday evening.

Lance addressed other business concerning the Salem Street storm project that went out to bid. The bids will be opened today.

Council approved a request from American Legion Ladies Auxiliary to hold Poppy Days May 7-8.

Council also approved a request from the Columbiana school soccer team to bring in a Chick-Fil-A food truck for one day as a fundraiser. A day has not yet been selected.

“It’s really great to see that there were so many who were outstanding in our community and it really goes to show that we’re making it work,” said council member Bekar.

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