Zoos, museums, bike trails, parks, veterans’ memorials, theaters, baseball stadiums and workforce training centers are a few of the dozens of projects that could receive state funding in the upcoming capital bill.
The Kasich administration Monday released several lists of construction project funding priorities devised by eight regional economic development groups and a committee charged with vetting arts projects throughout the state.
While the groups’ funding requests don’t necessarily mean the projects will wind up in Gov. John Kasich’s capital budget when it is introduced later this winter, they reflect local stakeholders’ input on what the governor recently touted as a new bottoms up instead of top down approach to capital budget planning.
The process marks an expansion of the governor’s decision last session to convene a group of university and college presidents charged with devising a list of priority capital projects. Since the new capital bill will, for the first time in six years, include funding for community projects, the administration asked other stakeholders from other areas for suggestions.
Regional chambers of commerce in the state’s eight major metropolitan areas were asked to identify community projects for inclusion in the capital budget, while a committee of arts organizations helped prioritize funding requests for arts projects.
Many of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s requests totaling more than $28 million are focused on waterfront improvement projects.
They include: $9 million for the Lakefront Access project; $6 million for the Flats East Gateway and Riverfront Park project; and $4 million for Euclid waterfront improvements. Other northeastern Ohio funding priorities are: the Gordon Square Arts District; the Central Neighborhood Clinic; and Towpath Trail.
The Columbus Partnership requested $14 million for the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial project – nearly half of the region’s total $30 million submission.
Some of the regional chambers’ other capital funding requests include:
· $2.5 million for the Camp Chase Trail section of the Ohio to Erie Hub.
· $2 million for Whitehall’s multi-jurisdictional Fiber Utility.
· $3.7 million for the Center for BITS & Atoms Project in Akron.
· $2.5 million to renovate Akron’s Cascade Plaza.
· $6 million for the Banks Intermodal Transit facility project in Hamilton County.
· $3.5 million for the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority’s MidPointe Crossing Swift Park project.
· $2 million for Dayton’s Project Elwood.
· $1.5 million for Wright State University’s Integrated Laboratory for Applied Airspace and Human Performance Simulation.
· $1.5 million for Springfield’s downtown parking facility.
· $3 million for redeveloping and expanding Toledo’s Promenade Park.
· $3 million for the Fifth Third Field Sports Facility and Park expansion project in Toledo.
· $2.7 million for the Northwest Ohio Workforce Development and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center.
· $5 million for the Youngstown Business Incubator.
· $1.8 million for Boardman Township’s Southern Park Historic District.
· $8 million for Youngstown State University’s Center for Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing.
· $3.6 million for the Great Ohio Lake-To-River Greenway in Trumbull County.
The Capital Arts & Culture Committee, which included 11 members from six regions of the state, recommended 66 projects receive a total of $33 million in the upcoming capital budget.
Northeast Ohio accounted for the largest share, $8.8 million for 16 projects with a total projected cost of $396 million.
Some of the larger arts-related funding requests include:
· $750,000 for the Toledo Zoo’s Aquarium Adventure Trail Project.
· $1 million for the Cleveland Museum of Art expansion.
· $1 million for Karamu House, Inc.’s theater renovations project in Cleveland.
· $800,000 for a new Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland building.
· $1 million for renovating Severance Hall in Cleveland.
· $1 million for renovating the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit and theater and create new space.
· $500,000 for expanding Stuart’s Opera House in Athens County.
· $500,000 to restore a historic theater in Marietta.
· $2.3 million to restore Cincinnati Music Hall.
· $1.4 million for preserving and upgrading Hamilton County Memorial Hall.
· $3.2 million for restoring the Cincinnati Union Terminal.
· $2.5 million for preserving and updating the Dayton Art Institute.
· $1.1 million for expanding the Columbus Museum of Art.
· $1 million for expanding the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus.
· $1 million for replacing the Ohio Veterans Memorial in Columbus.
The arts committee said it developed a regional allocation method based on factors like population density, prior funding history and density of cultural assets. In addition, members agreed to set aside 10% of the total “to selectively amplify funding recommendations in underserved regions or to accelerate projects targeting underserved audiences in the state.”
The committee said it received more than 170 funding applications totaling nearly $200 million.
Some of the considerations the committee used to prioritize arts funding were whether the projects: “demonstrated measurable statewide or regional importance”; advance arts education; met state goals for broad geographic distribution; were “shovel-ready”; and come with matching funds.
OBM spokesman Jim Lynch said the administration and legislature sought input from local communities, public colleges, arts organizations and others to help prioritize project spending.
“It’s clear that they’ve worked hard to make thoughtful recommendations and we appreciate their work. We will be reviewing these local recommendations carefully with the General Assembly, including any projects that have been submitted directly to members of the House and Senate,” he said.
Mr. Lynch echoed the administration’s assurances that the recovering economy has enabled the state to resume support for community projects.
“Thanks to Ohio’s improving economic health and fiscal stability, the next state capital improvements budget has room to address state and local needs in ways that will enhance our economy and the quality of life in our state,” he said.