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Agency seeks grant for public transit

Lawrence County residents who need a ride to the doctor, grocery or somewhere in between might receive it soon, if a local agency receives grant approval.

Friday, September 17, 1999

Lawrence County residents who need a ride to the doctor, grocery or somewhere in between might receive it soon, if a local agency receives grant approval.

The Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities will seek a $100,000 Ohio Department of Transportation grant for public transit services.

"We want to do some studies but it will probably be something like ‘dial-a-ride,’" Board of MRDD superintendent Jimmy Thacker said.

Because the state requires that grant money come through local governments, Thacker asked county commissioners Thursday to file the ODOT application and make the Board of MRDD the lead agency.

"The grant is written and ready to go," he said. "We have been in communication and things are looking pretty good at this point."

The Board of MRDD wants to coordinate efforts of several area agencies that offer transportation van service for elderly, handicapped and other residents, Board of MRDD spokesperson Teresa Mann said.

The priority would be serving elderly individuals with disabilities and Lawrence County citizens who have no way to get to medical and other services they must receive, she said.

Coordinating all area agencies’ transportation offerings then making them accessible by callers in need of help, for example, is only one use for the grant, Thacker said.

By following which routes or days are used most, traffic patterns could result in another plan, and maybe expand transit services, he added.

Other agencies contacted by the Board of MRDD also like the idea, Thacker said.

ODOT’s grant program requires the board match the state funding with 25 percent, or $25,000.

"After Tuesday’s meeting, we will know for sure if we will put up the match to pursue public transportation in Lawrence County," Thacker told commissioners.

Commissioners agreed with the proposal, voting to sign the grant application.

The grant is renewable annually for up to three years and the board hopes to receive funding all each year, Mrs. Mann said.

"This right now will be startup funds to develop appropriate plans," she said.