WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington and its Transportation Department — and local residents/taxpayers — recently received some great news about several grants that far exceeded the city’s expectations.
The State of Ohio informed Wilmington that the city will receive the OTP2 grant (Ohio Transit Partnership Program) — to cover all 11 items for which the city applied totaling approximately $360,000 —with a lot more grant funding on the horizon.
This is a new grant for which Wilmington Transit Service had never applied.
“My expectation was hoping to be awarded the roof replacement as a good starting point,” said WTS Director Larry Dale Bennington. “My expectations were far exceeded!”
The OTP2 grant provides state funds to rural and urban transit systems. The projects are selected on a competitive basis with an emphasis on the preservation of transit facilities and the innovation of transit programs.
“We were advised that the ODOT Buses and Bus Facilities (5339) grant that Wilmington Transit System has, in the past, been used exclusively for new transit vehicles, would not be funded with as much money as it has been previous years,” said Bennington. “While attending a monthly transit meeting we were made aware of this additional OPT2 grant and decided to apply for it as a backup to the 5339 grant. It paid off because we were not awarded any of these projects through the 5339 grant.”
“Wilmington Transit is currently waiting for four vans and four buses that are due to arrive by October 1st,” he said. “Half of these vehicles were to be delivered last year but delayed due to COVID. With this in mind, we decided to give our facility some much-needed attention.”
City Administrator Marian Miller said, “I’m really proud of the Transportation Department, especially the specific efforts of Wilmington Transit Director Larry Dale Bennington and Transit Administrator Allison Katter to apply for a grant that the city has never tried for before.”
The following 11 items totaling $360,000 were awarded to Wilmington Transit and can be utilized immediately (also included are comments on each need from Wilmington Transit):
• Roof Replacement – The Administration Building roof has not been replaced since Wilmington Transit moved into the facility. The roof currently leaks in several places in the building.
• Front/Side Door Replacement – Both doors are in poor condition and do not always lock properly.
• Garage Floor Repair – The current floor, when wet, is a safety hazard for employees.
• Office and Conference Room Carpet Replacement – The current carpet is original to the building and is damaged beyond repair.
• Two Industrial Floor Cleaners – These will help keep the carpet and garage floor clean and safe for years.
• Five Hanging Furnaces/one Air Conditioner– All HVAC items are original to the building; three are inoperable and the others require frequent repairs.
• Two Industrial Garage Doors – These run on chains and are constantly being repaired due to constant use. The new doors are electric with a longer life and are much safer than the old doors.
• Parking Lot Replacement – The current parking lot is full of potholes and cracks and is a safety hazard for employees and customers.
• 2021 Chevy 2500 Work Truck and Snowplow – The current work truck is a 1992 model, with no snowplow. The snowplow would help us prepare the lot before employees show up in the morning during inclement weather.
• 12-Passenger Van with Wheelchair Lift – To be utilized for expansion of services and possible fixed routes to alleviate calls to high-traffic areas such as Kroger and Walmart.
• Transit Study – This study will provide valuable information in meeting the transportation needs for all citizens of Clinton County, not just city residents, and help create a plan to possibly expand services.
Clinton Countians upwardly mobile
The City of Wilmington and Wilmington Transit System also announced that they have been awarded funding for additional large projects through the Federal Transit Administration and the Ohio Department of Transportation, according to Transit Administrator Allison Katter. These are:
• The Rural Transit Program Grant (5311). WTS has been awarded this grant for many years and uses the funds for operating expenses. These funds are used for escalating costs for fuel, vehicle maintenance, insurance, employee salaries and benefits, building maintenance, as well as cleaning supplies to help keep customers and employees safe from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The total amount Wilmington Transit System requested was approximately $1.6 million.
• The Specialized Transportation Program – Mobility Management (5310). In 2019 Clinton County Regional Planning Commission included the hiring of a Mobility Manager through the creation of the Clinton County Coordinated Transportation Plan. The position was originally sponsored by Clinton County Community Action Program, Inc.
This is the first year the grant will be sponsored by Wilmington Transit System.
The Mobility Manager represents all Clinton County residents in the goal of increasing access to mobility for all Clinton Countians by increasing awareness of transportation needs and help to include transportation into any future city and county planning and programs. The total amount Wilmington Transit System requested was approximately $90,000.
“The City of Wilmington and Wilmington Transit System are looking forward to exploring options to increase mobility options for city and county residents as well as upgrading the facility to be safer for the employees and customers,” said Katter. “We appreciate our customers and want to move transit forward for all residents of the city and county.”