PDT Staff Writer
Council passed the 2013 Income Tax Capital Budget and part of that budget included a fund transfer of $50,000 to support the Main Street Portsmouth organization, which falls under the Community Development segment of the Capital Improvement Fund No. 301.
Five people spoke in favor of the continuing partnership between the city of Portsmouth and Main Street Portsmouth. Among them was Scott Moore, chairman of the Main Street Portsmouth board of directors.
Moore said the organization had just been re-accredited through Heritage Ohio and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He also spoke about this past year’s Building Grant Improvement projects supported with the help of funding from the city in the amount of $50,000.
Moore said nine grants were awarded including $5,000 for roof replacement for Journey Within; $2,000 for the Center For Appalachian Philanthropy for exterior lighting, signage and awning repair; $2,500 for some exterior repair at the Southern Ohio Museum; $2,000 for new awnings for Cirque D’Art; $2,000 for exterior painting at Smith Drugs; $3,000 for roof and parapet repair at the Royal Lounge; $5,000 for rehabilitation of windows at SHNA; $1,500 for exterior signage for Compass Health, the former Scudder School building; $2,000 for historic window renovation work for the Raymond James office.
“We continue with investing that $25,000, which this year will produce over $160,000 in repairs,” Moore said. “And it will also, including the interior projects that go along with those, be over $300,000 in repairs downtown.”
While he said he supported the work of Main Street Portsmouth, Third Ward Councilman Nick Basham had problem with one segment of the report.
“I’m always concerned every year on this $50,000 to Main Street Portsmouth,” Basham said. “I do appreciate Main Street, and every year you come up and tell me the wonderful things you do. And I see them. I really do see them in the community. The mini grants, I personally have a problem when a mini grant is going to signage. I understand these historic buildings are very very expensive to keep up - window repair, parapet roofing - I understand those things, but to put a sign out in front, I personally have a problem with using tax money for something like that.”
Basham said there are parts of the budget he is pleased with.
“I want the public to know that I’m very excited in this budget that we have a lot of money for road repair, building maintenance, and blighted property tear-down, which I think is really going to help,” Basham said.
The budget contains $832,870 for engineering, including $400,000 earmarked for street paving, curbs and sidewalks.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.