We’re in the money

Published 2:50 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

Lawrence County Commissioner DeAnna Holliday speaks, offering congratulations to the Village of Coal Grove for the $1.25 million they received for projects from the state’s capital budget. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Coal Grove to get $1.25M for projects; $5M going to WNF welcome center

COAL GROVE — On the eve of Thursday’s meeting of village council, Mayor Andy Holmes and officials received news of a much-welcome surprise.

They were contacted by the office of State Rep. Jason Stephens, R-93, Ohio’s speaker of the House, who told them that $1.25 million from the state’s capital budget was being awarded to Coal Grove for the Village Riverfront Park, promoting community recreation and well-being.

Email newsletter signup

Holmes said this was one of the first grants he worked on since being elected to council and was pleased by the results.

He said they would be meeting with the village’s recreation committee to discuss uses for the funds.

“We would like to see it grow into more funds,” he said, adding that the intent would be to use the award for matching funds for other grants.

“We’d like to utilize funds and use them to chase more money,” he said.

Holmes spoke at the council meeting about things they would like to see funding used for, such as improving the village’s boat ramp, as well as constructing a one-way loop and improving the road to the dock.

“We’re very excited in Coal Grove and it’s good the entire county is rooting for us,” Holmes said to County Commissioner DeAnna Holliday, who was at the meeting to congratulate the village.

“This is a monumental time for the Village of Coal Grove,” she said, stating Holmes had also been instrumental in the county’s pursuit of funding set aside by Gov. Mike DeWine for Appalachian counties.

Holliday said Coal Grove’s project was a part of that application, but, now that it has received it’s own funding, they will update and revise the application. She said the county may still contribute to Coal Grove’s efforts, though.

Holliday described Coal Grove’s river area as one of the best in the county, and said she would like to see dining options there, including a riverfront restaurant.

Holliday said these projects show the strength of partnership between the county and local governments.

“A few years from now, you will see a different Lawrence County,” she said of the news. “It’s is our time to shine.”

“I think so, too,” Holmes said in agreement.,

In addition to the funds for Coal Grove, Stephens’ office also announced that $5 million was coming to build a new welcome center for the Wayne National Forest, greeting visitors as they enter from Lawrence County.

In addition, $750,000 was awarded improving the Lawrence County school communication systems.

Besides local investments, the legislation also includes additional statewide capital investments of:

• $600 million for the School Building Program Assistance Fund;

• $400 million for the Public Works Commission Local Public Infrastructure and State Capital Improvement Program; 

• $397.6 million for higher education projects around the state; and

• $250 million for local jail construction across Ohio. 

“There is a bright future ahead for Ohio,” Stephens said in a news release. “This has been a remarkable opportunity to invest resources in areas we otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” said Stephens.  “These are meaningful investments that will impact our communities around our region, for decades to come.”