Coshocton County pegged for $5.1 million in Targets of Opportunity grants

·3 min read
A rendering of the proposed new Coshocton Justice Center by Wachtel McAnally of Newark.
A rendering of the proposed new Coshocton Justice Center by Wachtel McAnally of Newark.

COSHOCTON — Coshocton County is poised to receive $5.1 million in Targets of Opportunity grants from the Community Development Block Grant Program via leftover CARES Act funding through the Ohio Department of Development.

Funding has been earmarked, but not yet officially awarded. The county is projected to get $3.15 million for construction of the new Coshocton Justice Center and $1.95 million to build a new headquarters for Coshocton County Emergency Medical Services. The county had asked for $10 million for the jail project and $2.5 million for the EMS building.

A grant agreement is anticipated in March. Currently, the application to the ODD is being finalized for its review. Once approved, environmental reviews of the sites would start. The ODD has set aside $25 million for Targets of Opportunity grants to be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

The new justice center is estimated to cost a little more than $28.3 million. The county is receiving $10.1 million from the passage of Senate Bill 310 and will use money from a sales tax increase approved in the November general election to pay off bonds for the remainder.

The sale of land at the former hydrological station for $4.3 million will go toward an administrative section, which will include the Coshocton County Prosecutor's Office, Coshocton County Sheriff's Office and dispatch.

The sales tax can be on for up to 25 years, but can be for a shorter period depending on other funding. The county collects from $1.1 million to $1.3 million in sales tax per year, minus cars and boats not part of the recently approved sales tax hike.

"It's a huge benefit to the community, because it will take that many more years off the sales tax that was put on the ballot in November, and we'll start to collect in April," Sheriff James Crawford said of the grants.

Commissioner Dane Shryock said with approximately $13.25 million in grant funding, or close to half the total project, paid it shows the community how committed local officials are to the project and taking as much burden as possible off of residents.

"We've worked very hard to lessen the impact of the financial obligation to the citizens of this community by trying to think outside the box and target whatever might be out there as an opportunity, without knowing the outcome of it," Shryock said. "Every dollar we get is one dollar somebody else doesn't have to pay out of this community's pocket."

The new jail will have space for 126 inmates with wings for men and women. There will be a minimum-security unit for each gender with other units being medium to maximum security based on need. There will also be open rooms for counseling, education classes, church services and other programming targeted to reduce repeat offenders. If needed, there is room on the property to add two pods to house 200 additional prisoners. It will be constructed on North Third Street, where Steel Ceilings once stood.

The EMS building will be built on a vacant lot at Seventh and Walnut streets, were Central Elementary School was located. A new building for the Coshocton County Coordinated Transportation Agency will also be on the lot, estimated at $1.9 million with 80% of the funding targeted to come from an Ohio Department of Transportation Facilities Grant.

The EMS building estimated at $4 million will be around 12,000 square feet. It will include five ambulance bays, office space, crew quarters and training facility. Bonds to pay off the remainder of the construction cost will be paid through the agency's capital improvement fund.

llhayhur@coshoctontribune.com

@llhayhurst

740-295-3417

This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: County pegged for $5.1 million in Targets of Opportunity grants

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