Lima council approves grant plan, discusses CDBG

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — During its Monday night meeting, Lima City Council unanimously approved Mayor David Berger’s request to apply for a federal grant to update streetscapes and water infrastructure in a number of blocks in downtown Lima.

If approved by the Department of Commerce by the end of 2020, the $10 million project would also pay for the development of Lima’s downtown amphitheater and the redesign of the Market and Main street intersection that makes up Town Square.

In related news:

• Councilors spent a large portion of Monday night’s meeting discussing Community Development Block Grant allocations for next year. The federal dollars — just over $1 million — can be used to fund local initiatives or programs that benefit low- to modern-income residents, but the many federal stipulations on their use often complicates who gets how much.

Council still has time to work out the kinks for this year, and it’s looking to do so in a separate committee meeting in the near future (date not yet set) prior to setting final allocation amounts.

As for Monday night’s discussion, councilors revisited a 2018 conversation about correlating funding levels with past results in order to maximize dollar use. Councilors requested that Director of Community Development Susan Crotty provide data on which past beneficiaries have been able to meet their stated goals.

• Councilor Jamie Dixon asked that a resolution memorializing Martha Macdonell be created to honor the arts patron. Macdonell died Friday after a long career highlighting and promoting the area’s creative talents.

• Multiple councilors commented at the end of Monday’s meeting about the need for Lima residents to “do their part” in taking precautions against the spread of the coronavirus. While facial coverings in public are now mandatory in Allen County due to an early spike in the number of local confirmed cases, councilors have seen and heard resistance from community members when it comes to wearing facial coverings and contact tracing.

• Along those same lines, councilor Jon Neeper is pushing the city administration to help provide facial coverings to each city resident using the city’s CARES Act dollars. Although early in the process, the city is looking to expand on the program by partnering with local health-focused organizations in order to provide the resources necessary to hand out a small coronavirus precaution kit that includes at least a facial covering per person. Details are still being decided.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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