NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $9 million to 34 communities across the state, including Niles and Girard.
Niles will receive $224,000 to improve storm sewers along Gypsy Lane in a residential neighborhood across from the Eastwood Mall that is prone to flooding during heavy rains.
The project aims at fixing the street’s flooding issues by installing more than 2,000 linear feet of storm sewer and 35 catch basins. Once updated, it will benefit 64 people in the area.
“As you know we’re having financial problems, so any grant we can get to help these people and to help that area is very beneficial to the city and to the citizens,” said Niles Mayor Tom Scarnecchia.
Those who live along the road said the project is much needed because when they get a heavy rain, the road turns into a stream.
“When we get about 4 or 5 inches of rain in a short period of time, this water fills up the road. We can and we have had canoes and kayaks down there on the road,” said homeowner Brian Rutkowski.
Girard will also get money for improvements.
The city will receive $300,000 to revitalize the central business district. The money will assist 57 projects, including facade improvements and correcting code violations.
In addition, another $200,000 is coming from Trumbull County. Businesses now have to match it, which means downtown Girard will get $1 million in improvements.
Mayor Jim Melfi said while the money will help greatly, he is realistic about what $1 million means for the city.
“I can’t make it 1965 again. I wish I could, but I can’t,” he said.
Repairs are planned for businesses downtown, such as Girard Hardware and the Black Horse Tavern. Those old buildings could use roof repairs and other aesthetic updates.
Knightline Embroidery and Screenprint owner Patrick Rubinic has been in the city for 17 years and was excited about new heating and air conditioning and a new roof for the building.
“There have been things we’ve done ourselves to make our business grow and continue the growth and help the city,” he said. “But these are some things that we can do that we weren’t able to do before.”