City of Piqua awarded $300,000 CDBG infrastructure grant

Funds to fix flooding issues in Shawnee area

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — The city of Piqua was recently awarded a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Critical Infrastructure Grant to be used for storm water improvements in the Shawnee neighborhood. The goal is to alleviate flooding issues in that part of town.

“We’re extremely excited for it,” Development Program Manager Nikki Reese said. “It’s huge for the Shawnee area, too.”

According to the city, the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) received 69 Community Development Program Competitive Set-Aside applications this year. Funding requests for the Competitive Set-Asides, which include Neighborhood Revitalization, Downtown Revitalization, and Critical Infrastructure projects, totaled nearly $21.9 million. ODSA was able to fund 37 top ranking proposals, including this Critical Infrastructure project for Piqua.

This grant, combined with along with the city’s annual CDBG Community Development Allocation of $75,000, will be used to install 450 linear feet of a 48-inch storm water pipe in the Shawnee neighborhood. The installation will start at the intersection of Cleveland Street and Second Street and run west to the Great Miami River.

Reese explained that the Miami Conservancy District and the U.S. Army Corps are allowing the city to cut through the levee near Cleveland Street to install a of portion of that 48-inch storm water pipe that will go directly to the Great Miami River. The city will then repair the levee.

“This cut through the levee won’t be open all the time,” Reese said.

In order to qualify for CDBG funding, the project area must be at least 51 percent low-to-moderate income. According to the U.S. Census, the Shawnee neighborhood was cited as being approximately 39 percent low-to-moderate income.

“Based on the percentage, they wouldn’t have been eligible for CDBG (funding),” Reese said.

The city also had the option to do an income survey, which was completed in May and showed that actually, 69 percent of the Shawnee neighborhood is low-to-moderate income.

The income survey included mailing out anonymous surveys to residents that they were then supposed to send back to the city. The income surveys asked residents to check a box next to the range in which their income falls and then to put down their address. The residents did not provide their names.

“We have three months to get this survey completed,” Reese said. “This year was my second attempt.”

This time around, Reese had help from the group Citizens for a Better Piqua, who went door-to-door collecting income surveys from residents who had not mailed back their income surveys. According to Reese, there are 409 households in Shawnee in the project area and the city needed to collect 247 income surveys.

“It would not have happened without the 11 volunteers,” Reese said about Citizens for a Better Piqua. “They just did an amazing job going door-to-door.”

The income survey is also valid for five years, so it can be utilized to apply for other funding opportunities in the future.

This is the second year that the city has been awarded a $300,000 CDBG Critical Infrastructure Grant. Last year, they received that funding to be used for new water meters in homes and businesses in the Southview neighborhood.

Funds to fix flooding issues in Shawnee area

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336