Centerville’s application for Clean Ohio grant funding to develop the Park at Cornerstone was expected to be approved this week, but the state decided to table the application until July because it wants more appraisal information from the city on the proposed land purchase involved with the project.

Cornerstone Clean Ohio grant decision delayed, more info needed

It wants more appraisal information from the city on the proposed land purchase involved with the project.

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The Clean Ohio Fund restores, protects, and connects Ohio’s natural and urban places by preserving green space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation, and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.

Clean Ohio Program Open Space applications go through the Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC), according to Ohio Public Works Director Linda Bailiff.

The city is seeking $1 million in state grant money to buy land from the developer, Oberer Realty, in order to pay for improvements at the park, which is located in the Cornerstone of Centerville development near off of Wilmington Pike.

The 20-acre park has been discussed for years as a key part of Cornerstone of Centerville, complementing the ongoing development of restaurants, retail, hotel and apartments near Interstate 675.

To qualify for Clean Ohio funds, a government has to own the property its seeking to make improvements to.

As it stands, the park land is owned by Oberer Realty, but if the city gets the grant, they will use the money to pay the developer to acquire the park land and then make improvements.

City Manager Wayne Davis said the park would bring a new recreation option in the city.

“We would like it to be a central amenity for job growth and more economic development to a critical project,” Davis said.

The city states that the development of the park will preserve a head-water stream, improve the quality of life for residents and visitors, provide a green space preservation area connect residents and visitors to a natural outdoor environment, as well as help with retaining and attracting businesses.

The price tag on the project to acquire the property is $1,472,108. The city will pay the other $472,108 to purchase the land.

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If given approval, the more than $1 million in funding would mean that the city would have to take care of the property in perpetuity.

Bailiff said that the NRAC District 11 Committee — which covers, Greene, Clark, Darke, Champaign, Preble, Miami, Madison and Union counties — met on June 13 to review Centerville’s application and decided to table it until July 17, the board’s next meeting.

“The NRAC wanted more information regarding the appraised value of the property,” Bailiff explained. “That is not an atypical request. They wanted a fresh set of eyes of the appraisal.”

She added that the 8-county district usually has more rural, wide open environmental space projects that are different than the more urban development involved with the Park at Cornerstone.

“The appraisal review now will involve the use of an ODOT certified appraiser that is listed by us, and Centerville can pick the one they like,” Bailiff said. “This is a quick turnaround, but it is doable. The appraisal review is just a look at the documents submitted to confirm or affirm the value of the property.”

Centerville, pending the appraisal review, looks like it could have its application request granted.

“They met the minimum score required by NRAC to approve the project,” Bailiff said.

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