GREEN The city’s planned Massillon Road North project, construction costs of which have been estimated at $12.7 million, was again front and center at the May 12 Green City Council meeting, as several pieces of legislation related to the project were discussed.

While no legislation was passed at the meeting, Council and city administration members discussed the transfer of $380,328 into the project bond retirement fund, as well as a resolution approving an additional contract with Burgess and Niple for professional engineering services for the Massillon Road North project.

Regarding the Burgess and Niple contract extension, City Engineer Paul Pickett said that while the engineering portion of the project is complete, the proposed contract allows the firm to “still support us during construction, as design questions come up.”

Councilman Rocco Yeargin noted that since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, as news reports indicate pending state cuts to local governments as a result, he has received questions from residents about why the city is proceeding with the Massillon Road North project at this time. Yeargin said there are a number of factors to consider, including $5 million in federal funding toward the overall $15 million project cost.

“Those federal grants will expire if the project does not begin by July 1,” Yeargin said. “So this is not the type of project we can simply put down and pick up next year.” He added that bond interest rates are currently at a record low, and – due to good fiscal planning - the city is “in good financial shape” compared to some other communities, even with the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

Round two of COVID-19 relief funds coming

Mayor Gerard Neugebauer reported that 18 Green businesses received $5,000 economic assistance grants through a Summit County economic assistance program to help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Neugebauer said the city will also be refunded the $50,000 it donated to the Summit County program, through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

In addition, Neugebauer said, more small businesses, as well as sole proprietorships, will be able to apply for an additional $5 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the county between May 14 and May 22.

Food driver draws big response

Neugebauer also reported that the city has collected 10,000 food items as part of its first Green Together food drive, which continues through May 15.