Portage County will receive $1.22 million in state funding, about half of it to restore a historic landmark in Ravenna.
The state capital budget included funding for the following projects in Portage County:
- $625,000 for the Salmon Carter House, on the grounds of the Portage County Historical Society in Ravenna.
- $250,000 to the city of Streetsboro to put a park in an industrial area of the city.
- $200,000 to the city of Kent to fund the Mill Race segment of the Portage Hike and Bike trail.
- $120,000 to Rootstown to fund the township's Community Park and paving of Gracie Field.
- $25,000 to Garrettsville to fund the village cemetery.
The Carter House and Garrettsville Cemetery project's funding came from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, while the other funding came from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Last year, the Historical Society celebrated the first phase of renovation of the 100-year-old Carter House on Ravenna's North Chestnut Street, made possible by a $100,000 grant. The latest grant will enable the second phase of the work to begin, which will be a much more extensive project, said Debbie Sunderland, president of the historical society.
"It's a wonderful opportunity to keep this house standing for another 100 years," she said.
Sunderland said the second phase of the project will restore the front porch to look as it once did, and restore the roof so people can walk across the property without being rained on. Other improvements include modern amenities such as internet access and air conditioning.
She thanked State Rep. Gail Pavliga and State Sen. Jerry Cirino for helping to secure the funding.
"I just think it's awesome," she said. "What a great opportunity for our little town."
Streetsboro said the funding will improve newly acquired park land at 10020 Aurora-Hudson Road, and will be fully matched by the city over the next two years. Plans call for the addition of 0.25-mile paved walking path around a one-acre pond, as well as paving the parking lot and drive. An ADA accessible fish dock will be installed, and a new pavilion will be erected.
“We are very thankful for this funding,” said Glenn Broska, the city's mayor. “Our Parks Master Plan has called out that we have no city owned park facilities in the northern end of town. This will be a great addition for the families who live by Frost Road."
"Other, larger cities who put in similar requests for park improvements received much less in funding," he said.
Parks and Recreation Director Greg Mytinger said pavilion space is always in demand in City Park, but books up quickly with summer events. "This will be a nice, quieter place for these kinds of intimate gatherings.”
Geis Companies donated the property to the city in December to serve as an amenity for workers of nearby factories, in addition to a park for residents. There are more than 25 industrial businesses with more than 2,000 employees within a 2-mile radius, said said Patrick O’Malia, the city's economic development director
“Some manufacturing processes that concentrate in the area, like plastics and metal production operations, are incredibly hot environments," he said. "It can be sweltering in the summer. By providing a spot for their workers to relax, or go take a quick walk on their lunch break, we hope that our employers will have an easier time in holding on to their employees and reduce burnout. The businesses could also rent the pavilion for some offsite team building activities or hosting a cookout.”
Jim Bowling, city engineer of Kent, said the Mill Race segment of The Portage will construct the last segment of the Portage Bike and Hike Trail through Kent.
The area of the trail is located along the west side of Cuyahoga River from Stow Street to Main Street, in downtown Kent. It will include a fully accessible 10-foot wide bike and hike trail, boardwalk, lighting, access point to the Cuyahoga River, educational signage and landscaping.
The Portage is a regional trail that allows cyclists and pedestrians to travel without using roadways. The existing segment is not fully wheelchair accessible or bikeable because there are several sets of stairs in the section, Bowling said.
"The completion of this project will improve the quality of life for residents because the trail provides an opportunity to enjoy nature and the scenic river views while participating in recreational activity," the city stated in its grant application. "The trail assist in creating equity because it provides a key linkage to the City’s alternative transportation system for those who cannot afford to own a vehicle. The trail is free and open to all users 365 days a year."