Amherst News-Times, 2001-01-24
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If I Local judge to retire — Page 2 ■ to Amherst News-Time ■z> c x t - X — -4 — r — — i r x < x --. ~ T rH .". — j/) _1 _t •* •* ro _> Wednesday, January 24, 2001 County sewer line probably won't connect to city's system Amherst, Ohio 1 It appears that the competition surrounding the infamous "sewer to nowhere" may be near an end, and Amherst is not going to be the city to service the sewer lines. Lorain city council has heard a presentation about an agreement to hare Lorain service the dormant sewer line located in Amherst Township; however, the deal has not been final-zed. Lorain mayor Craig Foltin led a presentation of the plan to connect the sewer to his city's system last week; the meeting, which was open to the public, was attended by the Lorain's city engineer and and county officials. Council was prepared for the presentation when each member received a copy of the 19-page sewer agreement. The issue of what municipality would service the sewer has been at the top of several communities' agendas for the past three years. Property owners in the sewer-to- nowhere area are currently seeking approval for the annexation of the land that encompasses the sewer line that runs along state route 58 from Amherst Township the city. The taxes generated by the annexation of the acreage would make it financially feasible for the city to service the sewer. The annexation request triggered a debate over which municipality would receive the tax dollars for servicing the sewer. Several of the communities have attempted to solve that problem by creating a joint economic district. Such a district would allow the communities to share the tax revenue that is made within the district. If Lorain approves the agreement and does connect to the sewer line, both the annexation and the joint economic district could become moot points. CONTINUED on page 2 V-1 rt- . :fT'*^i-_.-K 1 "J "• . p " 1 •W '%f 1 - ■ . J *,■ v ■ ■ ' '■ ' -'V \v * -. i \ __ co o <T> "TJ I o fJ1 cu \-\ or Heavenly message Mrs. Smith ot the United Church of Christ on Main Street, searches for the right letters to complete the message she is post ing. The church occasionally changes the sign to alert parishioners to current church events. City gets $400,000 in revitalization grant by JASON TOMASZEWSKI Newa-Tfcnas reporter The revi__li___tic-n of downtown Amhent lode one giant step — or 400,000 little steps — forward after the city was awarded a huge grant last week to begin funding projects that could breathe new life into businesses. The city has received a $400,000 grant to be used to renovate the downtown area. . This is definitely a step in the right direction,'' stated downtown coordinator Greg Balbierz. "We are fortunate to receive this money.'' Ohio governor Bob Taft made the announcement last week that eight Ohio communities will share more than S3.2 million in grants to revitalize their central business districts. The grants will be funded by the community development block grant downtown revitalization competitive program. That program is administered by the Ohio Department of Development's community development division. The downtown revitalization competitive program assists communities in their efforts to revitalize central business districts, provide downtown housing, eliminate blight, and create and retain private sector job opportunities for low- and nFufcrale-mcomc resilient-. According to Balbierz, 13 cities applied for the grant in October. "From the 13 that applied only eight were awarded the money," explained Balbierz. "Amherst is the only city in northeast Ohio to be awarded. It is very special to everyone who worked on the application, because this was the first time that we applied." Balbierz said it is rare for a first- time applicant to receive the money. He also slated that the aid that was received from the Poggemeyer De sign Group was invaluable. "They helped three other com munities with their «ppr stated Balbierz. "it would have very difficult to complete the application on our own." The application for the grant was more than 1,000 pages long. While it will be some time before the city will get the money, plans are already made for its use. Balbierz stated that the storefronts in downtown Amherst will be refurbished, as well as the insides of the stores. He went on to say that some of the money will go to bringing several of the buildings up to code. Earlier in the year the Amherst Downtown Business Association several of the downtown bus- iticLs owners ori whether they would take advantage of the matching offer that is provided in the grant. Balbierz stated that 17 of the 17 owners who were polled said yes. These business people will receive a dollar-for-dollar grant up to $10,000 for improvements to their stores. Balbierz went on to say that he hopes the local businesses would not be discouraged from exceeding the $10,000 matching grant mark. Balbierz is hoping for local construction companies to help with the storefront renovations. Balbierz feels that this will maintain the architectural integrity of historic downtown Amherst. One stipulation that comes with the grant is a timeframe in which the funds must be used. Balbierz stated that the city has a 22-month period to spend the money. Applications for the grant are reviewed by the Ohio Department of Development staff based on factors including program impact, strategy, feasibility, and financing, as well as community distress. The applications are required to demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently implement an ongoing downtown revitalization program. Speedway to become NASCAR short track by JASON T0MA8ZEWSKI Newt-Times reporter Local fans of the hit movie "Days of Thunder" are counting the days until April 14. That is when the biggest name in stock car racing is coming to South Amherst Tbe National Association for Slock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced last week that they will be bring- , ing the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series to the Lorain County Speedway. President of the Lorain County Speedway, Kevin -poonexna, made the announce- meat at a press conference in Westlake last week. This will bring more ex- '- posure to us on a local regional, and national level," stated Bonnema. "People everywhere associate stock car racing with NASCAR." Tom Deery, vice-president of NASCAR, stated "Kevin Bonnema and hit family have ' made a -JgnilVant investment and many improvements at Lorain to create a great racing venue within the Cleve- ' land market. We are very thrilled about their interest '.' and pretence in the NASCAR '.' Weekly Racing Series." The deal that brought NAS- , CAR to Lorain County Cor [j. the first time wasn't struck overnight According to tbe 33-year-old Bonatmt, it look several years before the speedway would fall under NASCAR jurisdiction. "NASCAR contacted us about two years ago," stated Bonnema "They told us that they had heard about the Lorain County Speedway in Day- tona, and that we had been doing a great job. They said that they would like to add the speedway to the Weekly Racing Series." Bonnema stated that he was hesitant at first about making any changes to the operation of the traclc "I purchased tbe track in the fall of 1997," explained Bonnema. "In the time since then we have made considerable improvements lo the track." Some of those improvements included laying down a new asphalt surface on the track, adding 2300 new grandstand teats equipped with backrests, and an improved pit area. When tbe dust settled bom all of the construction Bonnema had spent more than $400,000 ova a three-year period. However, that investment began to pay off. "We have been very profitable fat the list few yean," stated Bonnema about his reluctance to alp with NASCAR. "I thought 'If it ain't brake, don't fla it.'" • However die idea at having c-tted w___ die Lorain County Speedway was inticing. "I decided it would be the best thing for everyone involved," stated Bonnema. NASCAR officials spent the first half of the 1999 season inspecting the track and the operation of the speedway. According to Bonnema, NASCAR makes sure that any track that is in consideration for their sanctioning meets NASCAR regulations before signing any deal "They come in and check the track and make sure that all of our officials are familiar with NASCAR rules," explained Bonnema. "That way everything is ready to go once the deal is signed." NASCAR only signs their contracts on a year-to-year basis, however, Bonnema plans to make this a long- term engagement While the Cleveland market for motor sports isn't very big, Bonnema believes that the addition of NASCAR will change that. "Cleveland is a big sports town," stated Bonnema. "But they like their sports lo include a ball However, there are racing fans here, the Indy race at Bute Lake Front Airport draws a lot of people every year." One aspect of the NASCAR addition that will certainly put people in the seats is the big money that can now be won. Bob DuVal. NASCAR short track promotion* dlractor addressee the media at a press oor-erenoe tmoudng NASCAR's partnership NASCAR it host to a points champion every year. Every driver who pHticipates la NASCAR tvea-l it with the Lorain County Speedway. Opsrig Day at the speedway is April 14. awarded various points for finishing higher in races. The driver most points st ti the of the is the According to S points winner CONTINUED en last look
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 2001-01-24|
|Date of Original||24-JAN-2001|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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