Ohio lawmakers propose $89.8M in local projects in $700M spending bill

Nearly $90M earmarked for nearby counties in tentative draft; hearings this week

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Credit: Avery Kreemer

The Ohio Senate unveiled its plan Monday to spend a $700 million pool of money set aside by the state to make one-time strategic investments into local projects, including $89.8 million worth of investments in this eight county area of southwest Ohio.

Under the plan, Montgomery County projects would receive $28 million; Warren County $27.9 million; Butler County $17.8 million; Greene County $6.2 million; Clark County $5 million; Miami County $2.5 million; Darke County $1.8 million; Preble County $750,000 and Champaign County $20,000, according to documents obtained from the Senate.

Those projects include $27.5 million toward upgrades at Mason’s Western and Southern Open professional tennis tournament; $8.5 million for an interchange outside of Liberty Twp. in Butler County; $2 million to restore the historic Wright Brothers factory in Dayton; and $4 million to create a new sports wellness complex in Springfield.

“These are projects that people notice because they make a difference every day in their neighborhood,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, in a Monday statement.

See the table below for a list of the House’s and Senate’s proposed local projects and their earmarks.

COUNTYPROJECT House Senate Total
ButlerMillikin Interchange Improvements  $8,500,000 $8,500,000
ButlerMadison Township Firehouse Improvements  $1,750,000 $1,750,000
ButlerBCRTA Outdoor Workforce Training   $1,000,000 $1,000,000
ButlerRiversedge Amphitheater Expansion $1,000,000   $1,000,000
ButlerShuler Benninghofen Mixed-Use Project $1,000,000   $1,000,000
ButlerVOA MetroPark Museum Grand Entrance  $1,000,000 $1,000,000
ButlerOxford Student Safety Project $800,000   $800,000
ButlerLiberty Playground Replacement Project $500,000   $500,000
ButlerMadison Township Park Revitalization $500,000   $500,000
ButlerWelding Lab Program Expansion in Fairfield Township $231,540 $218,460 $450,000
ButlerGreat Miami Trail Corridor $400,000   $400,000
ButlerHamilton YWCA Domestic Violence Project $400,000   $400,000
ButlerWorld Class Clubs: Repairing Community Gymnasium $225,000   $225,000
ButlerBoys and Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty $218,796   $218,796
ButlerVFW Roof Repairs West Chester Post 7696 $7,875 $7,685 $15,560
Champaign Champaign Aviation Museum Improvements  $20,000 $20,000
ClarkChampion City Sports and Wellness Center  $4,000,000 $4,000,000
ClarkA.B. Graham Memorial $375,000 $375,000 $750,000
ClarkChampion Center Arena Improvements  $250,000 $250,000
DarkeWestern Ohio Regional Fire Training Facility $750,000   $750,000
DarkeEldora Speedway Public Safety Upgrades  $400,000 $400,000
DarkeHistoric Bear's Mill Infrastructure Restoration $275,000   $275,000
DarkeThe Darke County Fish and Game Association $120,000   $120,000
GreeneFuture Development of Wright-Patterson $1,000,000 $2,500,000 $3,500,000
GreeneSkyway SCIF Center  $1,000,000 $1,000,000
GreeneSpring House Park: Phase One $1,000,000   $1,000,000
GreeneWSU: Archive Facility Upgrades  $500,000 $500,000
GreeneOhioMeansJobs Greene County Improving Accessibility Project $175,000   $175,000
GreeneOhio Veterans' Children's Home Expansion and Upgrade, Phase 1 $150,000   $150,000
MiamiTroy Great Miami River Recreation Connectivity Project  $2,000,000 $2,000,000
MiamiTroy-Miami County Public Library Improvements  $500,000 $500,000
MontgomeryMiami Chapel Inspire Zone Youth Workforce Development Center - Boys & Girls Club $2,000,000 $1,000,000 $3,000,000
MontgomeryDayton Aviation Heritage Site (Wright Factory) $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $2,000,000
MontgomeryDayton International Airport Concourse B  $2,000,000 $2,000,000
MontgomeryFuture Development of Wright-Patterson  $1,500,000 $1,500,000
MontgomeryHealthy Family Market / Dayton Children's Pediatric Center  $1,500,000 $1,500,000
MontgomeryTri-Cities North Regional Wastewater Authority  $1,500,000 $1,500,000
MontgomeryKettering Business Park $1,250,000   $1,250,000
MontgomeryCommunity Health Centers of Greater Dayton-West Carrollton Health Center Construction $500,000 $500,000 $1,000,000
MontgomeryCountryside Park Revitalization $1,000,000   $1,000,000
MontgomeryRonald McDonald House of Dayton  $1,000,000 $1,000,000
MontgomerySchuster Center $1,000,000   $1,000,000
MontgomeryUnion Ring Road Completion Project - Phase II  $1,000,000 $1,000,000
MontgomeryUptown Centerville Connectivity and Development Improvements $1,000,000   $1,000,000
MontgomeryHarrison Township Police Headquarters Renovation $750,000 $200,000 $950,000
MontgomerySaint Vincent de Paul Community Donation Intake Facility  $800,000 $800,000
MontgomeryHomefull Housing, Food and Jobs Center $500,000 $250,000 $750,000
MontgomeryJefferson Township Community Improvements $600,000   $600,000
MontgomeryBOLT Innovation Center $500,000   $500,000
MontgomeryCenterville Schools Safety Access $500,000   $500,000
MontgomeryDayton Dream Center Transitional Housing $500,000   $500,000
MontgomeryEast End Whole Family Services Hub Facility Expansion and Renovation in Dayton $300,000 $200,000 $500,000
MontgomeryUnion Ring Road Completion Project - Phase III  $500,000 $500,000
MontgomeryRobinette Park $400,000   $400,000
MontgomeryHomefull's Healthy Start Child Care & Early Learning Center West Dayton $350,000   $350,000
MontgomeryDayton Airshow $300,000   $300,000
MontgomeryGermantown Covered Bridge $275,000   $275,000
MontgomeryDayton Clothes that Work! Facility Improvements  $250,000 $250,000
MontgomeryFlyghtwood Sports Life and Leadership Campus $250,000   $250,000
MontgomeryGrant Park Accessibility Improvements $250,000   $250,000
MontgomeryK-12 Gallery and TEJAS Acquisition Project  $250,000 $250,000
MontgomeryMiami Township Public Works $250,000   $250,000
MontgomeryOld North Dayton Park Expansion Project $250,000   $250,000
MontgomeryCatholic Social Services Supervised Visitation Center  $200,000 $200,000
MontgomeryDayton Alvis, Inc.  $195,149 $195,149
MontgomeryBoys and Girls Club of Dayton $154,851   $154,851
MontgomeryPreservation of Dayton Woman's Club Historic Mansion $100,000   $100,000
MontgomeryWest Memory Gardens Flood Mitigation Project $75,000   $75,000
MontgomeryGerman Township Channel Maintenance $60,000   $60,000
MontgomeryMiamisburg Historical Society Improvements $40,000   $40,000
PreblePreble County Fairgrounds Stall Barns $700,000   $700,000
PreblePreble Gratis Well Reconstruction   $50,000 $50,000
WarrenCincinnati Open Tennis Tournament $13,750,000 $13,750,000 $27,500,000
WarrenWarren County Ion Exchange Project  $200,000 $200,000
WarrenWaynesville Girl Scout Camp Improvements  $200,000 $200,000
WarrenVFW Roof Repairs Mason Post 9622 $5,045 $4,924 $9,969

The Senate’s proposal is the first look at what the full bill would look like since the pool of money was set aside last summer. The one-time strategic investment fund is made up of surplus state tax revenue, created in part because Ohio, like all states, received billions in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds that offset much of the state’s spending over the biennium.

It comes several months after the House passed its version of the bill, opting to portion out only half of the funds while leaving the rest to the Senate.

Senate GOP caucus spokesperson John Fortney told this news organization that the Senate’s proposal is the result of mutual deliberations between the House and the Senate, quelling concerns circulating the Statehouse that the state’s historic fund might be a sticking point between the state’s often warring chambers.

“Bottom line it is all coming together well,” Fortney wrote in a text.

The Senate plans to hold public hearings on its proposal on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week — a step the House didn’t take when it passed its bill shortly before the March primaries.

Senate documents comparing the House and Senate projects show that the House’s proposals have been left intact. In some cases, the Senate added entirely new projects, such as $8.5 million for the Millikin Interchange improvements in Butler County; while in other cases the Senate merely just added funding to projects already identified by the House.

In a statement, House Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, hinted that the House will be ready to move on a final version of the bill once the Senate solidifies its plan “so Ohio can realize the benefits of these transformational investments as quickly as possible.”

In a statement, Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, highlighted several Montgomery County projects that he said will “make a difference in the lives of many,” including a $2 million investment into the Great Miami River Recreation Connectivity Project, which will be used for “the design, engineering, and construction of this project to allow for the direct connection to the newly created multi-use trail and for recreational paddlers to access the river; and construction of a pedestrian pathway.”

Sen. Steve Huffman was Montgomery County’s only voice in the Senate’s deliberations given that Dayton-area Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp., opted not to meet with local organizations interested in the funds, nor did he submit a list of priorities to Senate leadership by the deadline.

When this news organization asked Antani about his decision last month, he said he vehemently opposed the one-time strategic investment fund on the grounds of fiscal conservatism. He called the state’s plan “completely unacceptable” and said any surplus funds Ohio had ought to go toward a tax refund.

“As somebody who plans to vote against this if this ever comes up for a vote, it simply would be hypocritical of me to submit a list for something that I’m going to vote against,” Antani said.

Butler County Sen. George Lang, R-West Chester, told this news organization that his priority was on securing funding for “huge” economic development projects like the Shuler Benninghofen renovation project and the Riversedge Ampitheater plans in Hamilton.

“I’m very pleased with what we’ve done,” Lang said. “Butler County is going to be well taken care of.”

The Senate’s proposal also rights what Clark County Rep. Bernie Willis, R-Springfield, perceived as a wrong when his sole priority, Springfield’s proposed $7 million Champion City Sports and Wellness Center project, had been overlooked by the House’s Republican leadership back in March.

Willis told this news organization that he thanks the Senate for putting $4 million into the project, but added another ask: “Now it is imperative that the House leadership rework their allocation to ensure we fully fund that project,” he said.

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Avery Kreemer can be reached at 614-981-1422, on X, via email, or you can drop him a comment/tip with the survey below.

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