Four projects in Delaware County will likely receive a total of $975,000 in appropriations as part of Ohio’s fiscal year 2017-18 capital budget bill, it was announced earlier this week.
State Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, said that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will have two projects funded — $500,000 for Entry Village Guest Services improvements; and $250,000 for a Japanese macaque (snow monkey) exhibit.
“There’s $175,000 for the Strand Theatre, and $50,000 for an (entrepreneurial) incubator for the old Gazette building,” Brenner said. “I got those put in there.”
In addition, Brenner said he supported earmarking $500,000 for Otterbein University’s STEAM Innovation Center, even though it’s in Franklin County.
“That would be benefiting students in Delaware County,” he said. “I thought that was appropriate.”
Brenner said the budget could be signed into law by Gov. John Kasich as early as the end of April. He also thought it was unlikely to be opposed or changed.
“The negotiations happen before the bill comes out,” Brenner said. “Once the bill comes out, there’s little or no adjustment to the bill.”
The 2017-18 capital budget bill totals $2.6 billion. Of that, $160 million is going towards community projects, although lawmakers reportedly requested more than $1 billion for projects.
Among the notable community projects are: $5 million for COSI to bring American Museum of Natural History exhibits from New York to Columbus; $1,354,559 for the Harding Home State Memorial in Marion County; $1 million for Worthington Pools; $250,000 for Lettuce Work expansion; $150,000 for the Knox County Memorial Theater; $100,000 for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry; $50,000 for Weathervane Playhouse renovations in Licking County; and $30,000 for the restoration of the historic clock tower in Plain City.
A statement from the Office of Budget and Management outlined the rest of the capital bill. The largest portion, $650 million, went to rebuilding schools in 49 districts, as well as funding to 40 new school districts. Higher education received $484.2 million total for projects at 37 public universities.
Ohio State University’s main campus will receive nearly $82 million, to be used for facility renovations and replacements.
Local infrastructure projects received $425.4 million through the Ohio Public Works Commission; and $100 million supports the Clean Ohio Program. State agencies also received infrastructure support — $323.1 million to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; $150.9 million to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for renovations or improvements at 27 state-owned adult institutions; $68.6 million to the Department of Administrative Services; and $34.7 million to the Department of Youth Services for renovations at the state’s three juvenile correctional facilities.
Of Ohio’s 88 counties, Franklin received the most total appropriations by far — $249,708,429.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.