Grant money moves to Mt. Sterling

Fairgrounds project found too expensive

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski -

Mount Sterling is receiving more grant dollars towards improvement projects, after some adjustments made by the Madison County Commissioners.

After a public hearing Monday morning, $58,000 of Community Development Block Grant money will be moved from the fairgrounds to the village of Mount Sterling for its own projects already partially covered by the grant.

The original plan was to use the money to install new bathrooms at the grounds, with the goal of not only renovating them significantly but making them more compliant with regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

However, according to Whittaker Wright, a consultant for the county, the project was found to be more expensive than the initial estimated.

“Unfortunately, the restroom project when we got into the formal development of it came in nearly triple the original cost estimates,” he said. “Essentially the restroom is in considerably worse condition than we had originally thought.”

Looking at additional regulations, such as prevailing wage requirements while using grant money, it would be cheaper to complete the project at a later date with the county’s own money.

Now the money will be added to the money allocated to the village in 2015 for various improvements at Mason Park, including the installation of three pieces of playground equipment and a basketball court, as well as batting cages and dugouts at the ball fields. It will now total about $69,600 for that project alone.

Other grant funds were contributed to the village for other projects, such as repairing Clevenger Road.

“Mount Sterling has gone out of its way to meet its financial commitments,” said Wright. “They had committed $283,500 to the entire neighborhood projects and to date their actual financial commitment is $396,000.”

Commissioner David Dhume noted that the county acknowledged the hard work the village had put in, in spite of recent deficits caused by thefts by former village official Joe Johnson, who is currently in prison.

The extra funding is extremely helpful for the village according to John Martin, the village’s administrator.

“We’re very happy to take [that grant], it helps us a great deal,” he said. “Obviously our situation down there is a little dicey at the moment so this is quite a help to our situation.

One attendee, Joe Myers, asked the commissioners to reconsider.

“Here we are with a county that got funds for ADA, and for some reason a lot of people thought the ADA project was worthwhile and went and got the funds,” he said. “Now you’re taking them and stealing these funds, basically,”

Myers then added that the county lacked a significant amount of handicap parking space and was lacking in accessibility, further adding that the commissioners “would need them soon, too.”

Forrest said that while he appreciated him coming to the meeting to voice his concerns, he “didn’t need to be so rude about it,” referring to the comment.

Dhume said that any further complaints should be listed and brought to their attention, although he and Forrest were fairly certain that their facilities were up to code.

This isn’t the first time Myers was involved in tension during a public meeting.

Myers was at one time a frequent attendee at Madison-Plains’ school board meetings, often criticizing the districts’ infrastructure, contents of the school library and handicapped accessibility.

Fairgrounds project found too expensive

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski

Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.

Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.