Liberty seeks funds for corridors | News, Sports, Jobs

LIBERTY — Township officials will join other area communities in seeking Appalachian Regional Commission grant funding to possibly be used for corridor improvements.

Township Administrator Martha Weirick said Liberty will apply jointly with other local communities to seek the grants.

Trustee Chairman Arne Clebone, who worked on preparing the ARC planning grant on behalf of communities in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, has been in contact with officials from Austintown, Boardman, Girard, Niles, Youngstown and Hubbard about the joint application.

The communities each have corridors running through them, including U.S. Routes 422 and 224, and state Routes 193, 7 and 46, which are the main streets.

Officials said portions of the corridors are showing signs of aging, with Appalachian funds able to be used for improvements to these areas.

“This is for the planning part of the grant. Every community has their own projects in mind. Because Liberty’s Belmont Avenue is the corridor with Youngstown, they want to see this area beautified to make it more attractive,” Weirick said.

Trustees said the funding can provide assistance to businesses and landowners to improve their frontage and building facades through signage, lighting, landscaping and other upgrades.

Clebone said previously there is $500 million in ARC grant funds available for 32 counties, including Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana.

Clebone said he also will see if the township — working with Eastgate Regional Council of Governments — can get any funds for the enhancement of the Belmont Avenue corridor.

The Appalachian funding is to assist communities in Ohio that are part of the Appalachian Regional Commission with project impact on areas covering two or more counties, with the government entities coordinating their efforts and jointly applying for the grant.


Officials also are discussing funding a new training and wellness center for the township’s safety forces if the project is eligible for the grant funding.

“We will see if this is a viable project,” Clebone said.

He said American Rescue Plan funds and Appalachian funds possibly may be used.

In another matter at a recent meeting, trustees established budget stabilization accounts in both the police fund and fire fund to accumulate resources for payment of accumulated sick leave, vacation and payments in lieu of taking compensatory time off for police and firefighters who will be retiring.

Wierick said the Ohio Revised Code allows townships to earmark specific amounts of money for people who are going to be retiring so the communities can plan ahead. She said this helps with budgeting purposes.

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