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15 Cincinnati projects advance to next stage of federal funding process

The existing Central Parkway protected bike lane ends here at Marshall Ave.
Becca Costello
The existing Central Parkway protected bike lane ends here at Marshall Ave.

Fifteen community-led projects in the Cincinnati area have made it through the first round of the Community Project Funding process. They will now have a chance to receive a financial boost from the federal government.

The federal funding process allows members of Congress to work alongside local governments and organizations to identify projects of regional importance.

This year, the 15 projects selected by Congressman Greg Landsman to go before a House committee mainly focus on improving affordable housing, updating pedestrian infrastructure and replacing water lines.

Landsman says the chosen projects represent the greatest needs in Cincinnati and surrounding areas. He says this funding process allows local leaders to have a say in how their tax dollars are spent.

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"We send a lot of tax dollars to Washington but don't always get a ton back, and when we do they don't always go to the projects that we as a region have prioritized," Landsman said. "Through this process, we get to, as a community, lift or submit the projects that are really important."

One of those projects includes renovating Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority's Beechwood Apartments in Avondale. The improvements would include fixing roofs and elevators, plumbing, and installing energy-efficient appliances for residents.

Another project would add to the city's Central Parkway "Complete the Street" improvement project, which makes room for expanded pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes, plus a greenspace median in certain areas.

Cincinnati, Loveland, Franklin, and the Village of Terrace Park are also slated to begin water line replacement projects if approved.

Landsman says about 90% of the projects presented to the House committee get approved for funding. The congressman says these projects will likely get the federal dollars needed to put their plans in motion and provides a rare chance for area neighborhoods to be a part of the government decision-making process.

"This was, I think, one of the most transparent processes that folks have seen, perhaps ever," Landsman said. "We take this very seriously and we want to get every single one of these projects funded."

RELATED: Brent Spence Bridge corridor project lands $1.6 billion federal grant

Other projects selected by Landsman were community center renovations in Over-the-Rhine and South Lebanon, SORTA bus stop enchantments, and the creation of a co-op grocery store in Walnut Hills to provide fresh food to residents after Kroger closed its nearby location in 2017. See the full list below.

The House committee is expected to make a decision on the approved projects within the next few months.

City of Cincinnati — Central Parkway Complete Street Improvement

  • Funding Request: $5,000,000
  • Project Cost: $20,000,000
  • Description: The Central Parkway Complete Street Improvement project would remodel Central Parkway into a “Complete Street” – reducing the width of Central Parkway from 106 feet to 70 feet and adding in new turn lates, dedicated pedestrian sidewalks, bicycle tracks, and a greenspace median. Improvements to this key corridor would assist in bridging the divide between two historic neighborhoods, Over-the-Rhine and the West End, and increase connectivity between Downtown and the City’s inner-belt neighborhoods.

Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority — Beechwood Improvement

  • Funding Request: $5,000,000
  • Project Cost: $44,028,459
  • Description: The Beechwood Improvement project would renovate and modernize all apartment units and major systems in this multi-family affordable housing high-rise property in Avondale. Improvements would include replacing boilers and elevator mechanicals, HVAC equipment, roofing systems, appliances, plumbing and electrical systems, additional laundry facilities, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and new energy efficient appliances.

City of Franklin — 12” Water Line Connection Replacement

  • Funding Request: $1,478,268
  • Project Cost: $1,847,835
  • Description: The 12" Water Line Connection Replacement project would upsize five municipal waters lines to the appropriate sizes – ensuring an uninterrupted supply of safe drinking water to the community. Improvements would primarily take place in the City’s older South and East sides, home to many low-income and vulnerable community members.

City of South Lebanon — Community Center Improvement

  • Funding Request: $812,797
  • Project Cost: $1,015,997
  • Description: The South Lebanon Community Center Improvement project would renovate a community center that serves as the primary location for the provision of much-needed services – including a food pantry – to low- and moderate-income residents in the community. Improvements include strengthening the structural integrity of the building, replacing the leaky roof, installing energy efficient windows, and repairing the parking lot.

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Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority — Bus Stop Enhancement

  • Funding Request: $3,250,000
  • Project Cost: $4,062,500
  • Description: The SORTA Bus Stop Enhancement project would improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of hundreds of bus stops which serve as the first point of contact for tens of thousands of transit riders daily. Enhancements include fixing uneven pavement for wheelchairs and strollers; updating broken shelters; and installing new seating, lighting, and electronic signage.

City of Loveland — Cherokee Drive Water Main Replacement

  • Funding Request: $745,000
  • Project Cost: $1,617,200
  • Description: The Cherokee Drive Water Main Replacement project would install thousands of feet of new water mains to replace the outdated existing water lines – ensuring an uninterrupted supply of safe drinking water to the community. Improvements would primarily take place along Cherokee Drive and West Main Street, home to many low- and moderate-income community members.

Mt. Airy Community Urban Redevelopment Enterprise — South Gateway Improvement

  • Funding Request: $1,400,000
  • Project Cost: $5,600,000
  • Description: The Mt. Airy South Gateway Improvement project would rehabilitate a collection of vacant, blighted, and dilapidated buildings and properties in the heart of the neighborhood. A new, 20,000-square-foot mixed-use development at the site would serve as a community anchor that will catalyze new economic development in the Mt. Airy Business District and increase quality of life in the surrounding area.

Village of Terrace Park — Elm Street Water Line Replacement

  • Funding Request: $400,000
  • Project Cost: $500,000
  • Description: The Elm Street Water Line Replacement project would install hundreds of feet of a new, secondary waters line – ensuring an uninterrupted supply of safe drinking water to the community. Improvements would primarily take place on a section of water line that has broken multiple times in the last several years as a result of heavy traffic on Hamilton County Route 50.

City of Springboro — S.R. 741 / Lytle Five Points Intersection Reconstruction

  • Funding Request: $2,000,000
  • Project Cost: $6,000,000
  • Description: The S.R. 741 / Lytle Five Points Intersection Reconstruction project would update a critical intersection through which 20,000 vehicles pass every day for commuter and commercial purposes. Reconstruction would include infrastructure upgrades, new turn lanes and safety features, better lighting and signage, and improved pedestrian access that will reduce congestion and hazards and facilitate new economic development in the surrounding area.

City of Madeira — Camargo Road-East Phase 2 Improvement

  • Funding Request: $2,850,000
  • Project Cost: $3,565,000
  • Description: The Camargo Road-East Phase 2 Improvement project would reconstruct 1.2 miles of a major corridor through the City’s main commercial and residential area. Improvements would include road resurfacing and full depth repairs and the installation of new streetscape enhancements, curbs, and sidewalks – increasing safety and efficiency for road users and supporting access to public transit for nearby residents of senior and assisted living facilities.

Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority — Lunkenheimer Revitalization

  • Funding Request: $2,772,000
  • Project Cost: $3,212,000
  • Description: The Lunkenheimer Revitalization project would rehabilitate an abandoned 150,000-square-foot building and site that was formerly used as a foundry and manufacturing facility in South Fairmount. Revitalization would assist in property remediation that will allow for the building and site to be repurposed for future use that will catalyze new economic development in the surrounding area.

Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation — Findlay Community Center Improvement

  • Funding Request: $4,000,000
  • Project Cost: $60,917,715
  • Description: The Findlay Community Center Improvement project would redevelop the existing Findlay Playground, Grant Park, and Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center into a world-class community campus in Over-the-Rhine. Improvements would include the development of a 51,000-square-foot state-of-the-art community center with an array of indoor and outdoor amenities to support diverse programming – including athletic fields and courts, fitness classrooms, aquatic facilities, and multi-purpose community facilities.

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Queen Mother’s Market Cooperative — Queen Mother’s Market Establishment

  • Funding Request: $2,000,000
  • Project Cost: $5,000,000
  • Description: The Queen Mother’s Market Establishment project would establish a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Walnut Hills. The new grocery store would primarily benefit seniors and vulnerable community members who have lacked nearby access to quality food options since 2017.

University of Cincinnati — Semiconductor and Microelectronics Workforce Development

  • Funding Request: $2,000,000
  • Project Cost: $2,000,000
  • Description: The Semiconductor and Microelectronics Workforce Development project would assist in the acquisition of technology and equipment and the development of research programming and coursework to advance engineering and technical education and workforce training for more than 500 new students pursuing semiconductor and microelectronics training in this growing and in-demand career field.

Greater Cincinnati Water Works — Lead Service Line Replacement

  • Funding Request: $910,000
  • Project Cost: $1,820,000
  • Description: The Lead Service Line Replacement project would replace hundreds of publicly-owned lead service lines – shortening the time frame for Greater Cincinnati Waterworks to completely remove and replace lead service lines on both private property and the public right-of-way.
Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.