Putnam County Ohio — Putnam Sentinel

COLUMBUS/PUTNAM COUNTY — Three Putnam County projects will receive funding from the State of Ohio’s $2.6 billion Capital Budget, billed as “an investment in Ohio’s infrastructure and local community projects,” should state legislators in both houses pass the bill into law. Efforts in Leipsic, Ottawa and Pandora are slated to share $240,000 of the budgeted monies.

State Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and State Representative Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) announced the introduction of the state’s Capital Budget, last week, commenting on the importance of the legislation and its potential impact on local communities.

“The capital budget is a great opportunity for our state to invest directly in the local communities, improving the quality of life for those in the region,” McColley said. “The projects funded in Putnam County will provide a unique recreational and economic impact in our local community and Northwest Ohio. I commend the local officials and constituents of the area for their vision and dedication to make this funding possible.”

Locally, Pandora expects to see the lion’s share of the proposed pot — $100,000 — for improvements to the Arthur-Lugibihl Community Center, specifically, the installation of restrooms. Already under way, the estimated $300,000 project is roughly two-thirds of the way to completion, according to Pandora Mayor John Schlumbohm. Even so, the village is grateful for the State’s input and for the support provided by both McColley and Hoops.

“We started this process with Cliff Hite a little over a year ago; he said it sounded like a good project for the capital improvements budget,” John Schlumbohm, Pandora’s mayor said. “Once Cliff departed, we got on board very early this year with Rob McColley. I think I called Jim Hoops the day he was sworn in.”

For Ottawa, the $65,000 check from the State is earmarked for part of the village’s open-spaces program: the construction of an open-air concert venue on Main Street where Paul’s Ace Hardware once stood. As with the Arthur-Lugibihl Community Center improvements, fundraising for Ottawa’s project has already commenced, with several area organizations having pledged $45,000 to the estimated $100,000 necessary to build the venue and landscape the lot.

“I’m tickled to death that the State sees our project as viable, and I’m glad they’re able to contribute,” Ottawa Mayor Dean Meyer said.

As with both Pandora and Ottawa, the projects receiving funding in the Village of Leipsic have an entertainment focus, as well. With the $75,000 the bill has set aside for Leipsic, village officials plan to finance repairs to an existing facility and float a boat dock under consideration for the village’s reservoir.

As for the repairs, village residents have long complained about the deterioration of tennis courts in one of Leipsic’s parks.

“There are potholes so big you could lose a shoe in them. Seriously,” Leipsic Mayor Kevin Benton commented on Monday.

In addition to repairing the area, village officials have proposed eliminating one court and replacing it with a pickleball court.

“I want to thank the local officials for bringing attention to these very important projects for the communities in ­­Putnam County,” said Hoops. “This gives communities an opportunity to complete projects for their constituents that they would not otherwise be able to do because of lack of local resources.”

Statewide highlights of the Capital Budget bill include:

Supporting Ohio’s Schools

• $600 million will be invested in local school construction, including repairs, renovations and maintenance for primary and secondary facilities.

• Over $483 million will be invested in projects supporting Ohio’s 37 public colleges and universities.

Supporting Ohio’s


• $514 million will go to local infrastructure projects through the Public Works Commission, including local roads, bridges, water-supply systems, storm sewers and wastewater systems.

This includes $100 million to support the Clean Ohio program, which funds the preservation of green space, farmland, open spaces and expanded recreational opportunities.

• Over $234 million for the maintenance and preservation of Ohio’s dams, parks, trails, waterways and wildlife.

Supporting Ohioans in Need

• Nearly $222 million will be invested in critical health and human services funding for youth services, developmental disabilities, mental health, addiction treatment and women’s health initiatives, over double the amount spent in the last capital budget.

This includes $20 million for new opioid community resiliency projects.

Supporting Ohio’s


• Nearly $150 million will be used for economic development and cultural projects of local and regional importance to boost growth and increase opportunities throughout the state, in addition to supporting the healthcare projects above.