Roads and sidewalks are what people notice in a neighborhood, the mayor says.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
GIRARD -- One of the city's oldest areas will soon be getting a face-lift thanks to a state grant to improve sidewalks and streets of low to moderate income neighborhoods.
The Office of Housing and Community Partnerships has awarded the city an Ohio Small Cities Community Development Block Grant. The $300,000 grant will go toward revitalization efforts off U.S. Route 422 west.
Mayor James Melfi said competition for the grant is high and the city is fortunate to have been selected. The state received 33 proposals requesting more than $33 million, but distributed only 10 grants worth $9.3 million in total.
"This is a very hard grant to receive," said Melfi. "We have been fortunate to have two areas in Girard selected to receive the grant in two years."
The Parkwood area of the city, Melfi said, was selected for the same grant two years ago.
Put to good use
The grant will be used for sidewalk repair and installation, street resurfacing and demolition of some old houses. He said some of the dollars will also be used in general improvements to the infrastructure and installation of restrooms at Hartzell Park.
Melfi said the goal is to address some of the past concerns raised by residents living in that area and issues raised at more recent public hearings. He said residents often cannot afford to repair things such as sidewalks, but those things are what others notice first about a neighborhood.
"We can go into that area with this grant money and do literally thousands of feet of sidewalk and it will look beautiful," said Melfi.
He said the target area is the second-oldest settled area in the city and has needed the planned work for some time. The grant, he said, will increase pride in a neighborhood where community pride already runs pretty high.
"We recognize that neighborhoods are the backbone to any community. This grant has proven to be very effective in revitalizing some of our older neighborhoods," Melfi said.