Kent officials are anticipating $800,000 in state grants will aid in reconstructing two downtown streets as part of the ongoing redevelopment work.
Kent City Council will vote Wednesday on a grant from from the the Ohio Department of Transportation to aid in rebuilding portions of Erie and South DePeyster streets downtown. A second grant is expected from the Ohio Department of Development to help pay for the road work.
Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said ODOT is expected to provide up to $500,000 with the state development department adding as much as $300,000.
The city plans to rebuild Erie Street between South Water Street and Haymaker Parkway and South DePeyster Street between Erie Street and Haymaker Parkway. The entire project cost is budgeted at $3.8 million.
"In a nutshell, the grant money from the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Development, which totals approximately $800,000 we anticipate, will help the city complete the road improvements necessary for the downtown redevelopment," Bowling said.
Kent is getting another $780,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission to trim the city's obligation for the entire project down to about $2.2 million.
The work will tie into improvements already made to Alley 4 and plans for a parking lot in the center of the city's redevelopment block. Redevelopment projects adjacent to the planned street work include the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, Fairmount Properties redevelopment, Acorn Alley II and the PARTA bus transfer site and parking garage.
To get the ball rolling, city officials approved releasing money for the project at a board of control meeting Friday to pay for initial work such as inspection of the roads and design work.
Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said the road reconstruction is a crucial obligation on the city's behalf for the downtown redevelopment given the roads' deplorable conditions.
"Without question, one of the prominent reasons (aside from jobs, investment and growing our tax base) for planning and promoting the downtown revitalization project was to address the conditions of the roads and sidewalks," Smith said in an email.
Council will vote on grant agreements with both state agencies for the money on Wednesday, and then the agreements will come back to council later this month for final approval.