FREDERICKTOWN — The Village of Fredericktown has been awarded a grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in the amount of $922,000. The grant, part of ODOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program, covers projects that improve non-driver access to public transportation.
Specifically, the program funds projects that focus on bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects, community improvement activities, environmental mitigation, recreational trail program enhancement, and safe routes to school projects. With a general fund of about $1.3 million, a nearly $1 million grant could be a “game changer for the village,” according to Village Administrator Bruce Snell.
Village Council will utilize this grant funding to revitalize the streetscape of the historical downtown area along North Main Street from Mill Street to Second Street beginning in July 2022, eventually completing the project to the Public Square as additional funding becomes available. The project will focus on ADA compliance, replacing sidewalks, widening driving lanes, moving overhead utility lines underground, replacing traffic signals, improving pedestrian safety, replacing curbs, and replacing street lights with historic street lighting.
“We were simply thrilled to receive the news of our being awarded the TAP grant. Fredericktown deserves the revitalization this grant will provide," said Village Council President James Hobson.
The grant is part of a larger effort to revitalize historic downtown Fredericktown. In 2017, spearheaded by the Area Development Foundation, the Fredericktown Community Development Foundation commissioned a revitalization study from Neighborhood Design Center (NDC), a design group from Columbus. The study included an assessment of the existing conditions, solicited public input on what it wants to see in downtown, and current trends from similar villages. After a nearly year-long process, NDC produced a report with many recommendations, including improved greenspace, consistent signage, safer pedestrian walk-ways, and enhanced historic features such as street light lighting and improved facades.
As a followup to the NDC study, a new group is forming to create a Main Street program. Several dedicated local residents consulted with Heritage Ohio to have a downtown assessment conducted in May. The assessment was conducted by three experts on Main Street programs from around Ohio. They provided a report detailing how Fredericktown can revitalize its downtown by focusing on business development, marketing and events, and downtown aesthetics. While the grant will make downtown more aesthetically pleasing, a Main Street program will provide the events, business development and permanent staffing to make it a destination. For interest in joining the Main Street program, contact Snell at 740-694-9010.
“Fredericktown’s passion and community spirit now has the validation of a very large grant to help fund improvements,” said Jeffry Harris, president and general counsel of the Area Development Foundation. “Our nonprofit development organization has been working for years with the Village of Fredericktown to help the community identify key priorities and achievable goals.
“Our partnership with the village administration, particularly Bruce Snell and Mayor Jerry Day, has been one of our highlights, and we are excited to watch the village turn this once-in-a-generation opportunity into a game changing update for the look and feel of Fredericktown."
Established in 1955, the Area Development Foundation serves as the central clearinghouse within Knox County for economic and community development expertise and activities. The foundation negotiates and monitors financial incentives offered to businesses in Knox County, applies for and manages grants, serves as the go-to source for information on available commercial properties in Knox County, and represents the community in all development-related conversations.