August 9, 2022
County Councilman Dale Miller proposed six community grants for the 2nd County Council district through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. All such proposals must be approved by the full County Council, rather than by any individual Councilperson. The proposals have been introduced and are working their way through the legislative process.
The first grant would provide $1,500,000 for the City of Lakewood for its $12.375 million project that will create a new refuse and recycling center and a new animal shelter. The project is expected to be completed in two phases by the end of 2025. By relocating facilities that are currently in the way, the project will also create necessary space to complete a major storm water retention project. The second grant would provide $500,000 to the Beck Center for the Arts for HVAC, roof, and foundation improvements as part of the Beck Center's ongoing capital campaign, which as a total size of about $6.7 million. Work related to this grant is expected to be completed by the middle of next year. The third proposal would provide $350,000 to the Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation (BPDC) to renovate a 2,100 square foot building at 3847 West 140th St. to create the Lyric Avenue Community Center to provide after-school programs for youth and workforce development programs for adults. The fourth proposal adds $174,700 to other funds to create a total $2,674,700 contribution toward construction of new facilities for the Hitchcock Center for Women, a unique organization in Cleveland that provides residential addiction services for women with families.
The final two proposals are on the cutting edge of innovation. The Ohio Aerospace Institute/Biomimicry Foundation proposal would provide $250,300 in first year funding to assist businesses, particularly in the Aerozone area near NASA-Glenn Research Center and Cleveland Hopkins Airport, to learn from successful technical solutions found in nature and apply them to real-world problems to enhance efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. The Baldwin-Wallace proposal would create a traffic control information system for drones to identify obstructions and hazards. It is believed that development of this system will accelerate drone business activity in Greater Cleveland.
"The City of Lakewood's proposal helps our environment in multiple ways by improving recycling services and making the storm water retention project possible," Councilman Miller stated. "The project also enables local, humane animal care for Lakewood residents through construction of the new and improved animal shelter," he added. Councilman Miller praised the Beck Center is the premier arts and culture institution on the west side of Cuyahoga County for both performance and arts-related education. He stated that this grant will help the Beck Center continue and expand its 90-year record of excellent community service. “The Lyric Community Center is ideally located, across the street from John Marshall High School and near several other schools, and will be very cost effective for the County because the BCDC has the staff capacity to run the programs once the building renovation is completed. They will provide very important services that will enhance youth and adult development and reduce opiate addiction,” Councilman Miller stated. He also stated that the Biomimicry and Drone Flight Information System proposals are little more speculative but have high potentials for positive economic and environmental impacts.
Cuyahoga County has been allocated $240 million in ARPA funds. County Council and Executive Budish reached an agreement that $66 million of these funds would be set aside for community grants, allocated at $6 million for each of the eleven County Council districts. The Council developed a standard application form for community grants, but each Councilperson was given latitude to develop a process for receiving and evaluating proposals and making recommendations to the full Council. No individual Councilperson may approve a community grant application. All proposals must be approved by the full Council following a full legislative process, including three readings and consideration and favorable recommendation from the appropriate Council Committee. Councilman Dale Miller developed a formal application and scoring process to consider applications and make recommendations to the full Council. An announcement and request for proposals was issued on Wednesday, May 11th and proposals were due on Friday, June 10th. Thirty-three applications requesting a total of over $21 million were received for the $3 million first round of District 2 ARPA community grant funds. The proposals were then evaluated by an eight-member review committee consisting of four members of the County Council staff, three experienced leaders from executive departments, and Councilman Miller. The recommend proposals received the highest scores in the review process.
The City of Lakewood, Beck Center, and Lyric Community Center proposals were introduced into Council on July 19th. The Beck Center and Lyric Community Center were heard and recommended by the Community Development Committee on Monday, July 25; the City of Lakewood proposal was heard and recommended by the Education, Environment, and Sustainability Committee on Wednesday, July 27th. All three received their second reading in Council on August 4th, and will be considered for final approval at the next Council meeting on September 13th. The Biomimicry and Drone Flight Information proposals were introduced on August 4th, and will go through their legislative process in September and early October. The Hitchcock Center proposal received final approval on August 4th.
These proposals only covered half of District 2’s $6 million allocation. There will be one or two additional funding rounds later this year or early next year. District 2 includes Lakewood, Brook Park, and the West Park area of Cleveland.