By Wayne Allen
Earlier this week, officials with the state of Ohio released their recommendations for the 2015-16 Capital Appropriations. Included in the recommendations is $4,250,000 in funding for two projects in Scioto County.
If passed Shawnee State University (SSU) would receive $4 million to expand its Health Science Programs and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) would receive $250,000 for the installation of a campground in Earl Thomas Conley Riverside Park in West Portsmouth.
According the application submitted to the state by the Scioto County Commissioners for the campgrounds, “the project will develop county property into a campground that will hold 60 campsites. The project will create three jobs and create tremendous tourism opportunities in Scioto County.”
The estimated project cost is $676,472 with $326,472 of the necessary funding being requested from the state.
The application states the remainder of the funding is anticipated to come from the Appalachian Regional Commission $250,000 with $100,000 being provided by the county. On the application, the county states the campground will be supported through a fee, that will allow the county to operate the campsite and create ongoing operational funds.
When asked about anticipated outcomes the county said, “the project will create three jobs but will also allow businesses to expand business through increased traffic from the campsite.”
The notion to install a campground at the park came from Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman. Coleman said once installed the campgrounds will be of great benefit to the county.
SSU President Dr. Rita Rice Morris said this funding will allow the university to expand its health science programs into more classroom and laboratory spaces.
“Expanding these areas helps to meet the increasing demands of our regional hospitals and health care providers,” Morris said.
Morris explained that the proposed classrooms and laboratories would be located on Fourth Street. The proposed capital funds would enable Shawnee State to remodel its facilities, expanding capabilities for health science and STEM-related programs.
Health science disciplines at Shawnee State include a master’s of occupational therapy, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapy assistant, nursing, athletic training, respiratory therapy, radiologic technology, dental, medical laboratory, and emergency medical technology programs.
According to information from the state, “the capital budget is generally enacted every two years to fund the most pressing construction and maintenance need of state government, school and higher education, with priority given to improvements that boot job creation and economic growth.”
Once enacted the $2.386 billion capital budget is estimated to created 31,000 new jobs throughout the state.
“We’ve still got work to do, but Ohio’s definitely getting back on its feet and because of that, and because we’ve managed our money well, we can catch up on some needed maintenance and construction of public facilities, including at the local level. I’m glad it’s happening and I’m glad that so many of these requests were developed independently by local communities based on their needs and priorities,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich in a released statement.
The capital budget will now be sent to the legislature for consideration and approval.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT