The city of Delaware plans to demolish its engineering house to provide more downtown parking.
City Council approved on Monday to budget $150,000 in its five-year capital improvement plan to demolish the 20 E. William St. house and convert the space into a public parking lot. It also approved an additional $540,000 in grant match funding for The Point and signal improvement projects.
“Due to a very positive 2016 budget outcome, we had the financial capacity to increase our capital improvement allocation for 2016 and 2017,” said City Manager R. Thomas Homan in a memo to the Finance Committee.
“The one project I like to get going this year would be the engineering house … getting that taken down and getting that parking lot put in place,” Homan said at a committee meeting in April. He added it would take time because it’s in the historic preservation district.
Removing the house would create about 10 new parking spaces for a total of about 30, according to a draft concept plan.
Councilman Kyle Rohrer, 4th Ward, said Wednesday details of the house were discussed by council in executive session. He said the city will present its plans to the Historic Preservation Commission this year.
The 8,232-square-foot house was built in 1901 and the city acquired it at no cost in June 2001, according to the Delaware County auditor’s office. The 12-room, two-story house’s total market value is $195,800.
The engineering department had moved its offices out of the building, which is located to next the old Gazette building.
The $690,000 for additional capital improvements was among other CIP changes council approved Monday. The plan was adopted in October before the city’s annual budget was submitted the next month.
“Consequently, between the time the CIP is adopted and the budget is approved there are changes,” said Finance Director Dean Stelzer in a memo to council. “… Most of the changes relate to the estimated CIP revenues available, additional grant funds obtained, and updated cost figures for the projects approved.”
Stelzer said the changes for the 2017 CIP were “substantive” compared with prior years as transportation improvement grant funding was secured, plus additional funding to the CIP council authorized based on 2016 budget results.
Council approved $290,000 to match grant money to begin the design work of the estimated $25 million project at The Point. The project would widen the intersection of Routes 36 and 37 into two lanes in each direction and replace the well-known bottleneck’s Norfolk Southern railroad bridge.
The city was awarded $17.7 million in grant money from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio Department of Transportation. The city is required to match 20 percent of MORPC’s $13.2 million grant; 25 percent of the $1.5-million grant from the ODOT’s Transportation Review Advisory Council; and 10 percent of ODOT’s $3-million safety program grant.
Those funds will be distributed between 2018 and 2024.
Meanwhile, city officials continue to identify other sources to match grant funds. So far, funds identified are income and property tax collections from the Tanger Outlets Columbus mall area, through an agreement with Berkshire Township. City officials will reach out to Delaware County for funding the project.
Funds from last year’s failed income tax levy could have been used to match these grants, city officials said. But more than 60 percent of Delaware residents voted against the ballot measure.
Aside from The Point, the city approved $250,000 to match a grant for the design of signal improvements on main travel corridors including Sandusky and William streets and Central Avenue. MORPC awarded $2.5 million for the project.
No increase for resurfacing
The city decided to not increase street resurfacing funds by $300,000 in the CIP this year because of the projected income tax collections.
Collections were down 7.64 percent in March compared with last year partly because of state changes that now require employers to remit withheld taxes monthly versus quarterly, according to the city’s finance reports.
Collections were up 4.71 percent in April compared with last year, but withholding taxes remain below 2016 figures as business income collections increased.
The city’s CIP has $560,000 budgeted for street resurfacing this year.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.