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Bellbrook approved for major ARPA-funded projects


BELLBROOK — The city of Bellbrook, home to 7,300 citizens, is prepping for a host of long-awaited projects officials hope reach fruition within the next three years.

After a recent public forum and town hall/input session to formulate priorities for use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, goals fell under the following objectives:

Infrastructure: Managing and treating stormwater or substance drainage water; maintenance and repair of aged surface and transportation infrastructure affected by loss of public sector revenue; and establishment of programs and/or services to invest in necessary improvements to the city’s infrastructures including projects that address the impact of climate change.

Far-reaching negative economic impacts of the pandemic: Replacing lost public sector revenue; supporting small local businesses; and assistance to workers and families.

According to City Manager Rob Schommer, out of the forum, the overwhelming priorities identified were stormwater management and improvements to the storm water system. In addition, priorities for improvements to roadways and downtown accessibility were high priority. In addition, priorities for improvements to roadways and downtown accessibility were high priority.

As a result of receiving $769,292 of Local Fiscal Recovery Funds through ARPA, the city is now on track to tackle the planning and funding phase of its three top projects:

— The Lower Hillside stormwater management project. The project is estimated to cost $250,000 and will address long-standing street flooding issues caused by a lack of water run-off containment. The project will involve installation of larger and more catch basins and enlarging re-sloping of the draining pipe to allow for quicker disbursement of water.

— Downtown walkability and access safety improvements. This project is a result of the Downtown Streetscape study and identifies two primary locations were improvements for safe crossing of roadways for pedestrians is needed. A mid-block crossing on Franklin Street and a defined crossing on North Main Street at Bellbrock park have been identified as the first projects to improve walkability, access, and safety for downtown. That project will combine with $75,000 of grant funds received from the Greene County Commissioners through a Community Improvement Corporation grant.

— Installation of two outdoor warning sirens. This project has been a priority for a couple of years and a goal of city council. The project is currently out for bids, which are due Aug 5. The estimated cost is $30,000 per site and is estimated to include installation of two sirens to augment emergency notification.

“This has certainly been a goal for the city for a year now,” Schommer said. “The streetscape has been a multi- year process through the walkability study and the streetscape master plan (completed last year). The study was paid for by a combination of local funds and a community improvement grant from Greene County. We have turned the study into identifiable projects of safety and walkability that addresses that element. There will be more projects related to the streetscape study in the future which will involve things like hardscapes, pedestrian lighting, gateway features, etc.”

By Karen Rase

[email protected]

Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.