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State releases more funds for Kinsman bridge

COLUMBUS — State Sen. Sean J. O’Brien, D-Bazetta, has announced the release of additional funds to be used for reconstruction of the Lakeview Drive road and bridge in Kinsman Township after significant rain destroyed the bridge in July.

O’Brien said the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Management Agency requested the state controlling board approve the transfer of an additional $2,843,832 to supplement state disaster relief efforts, with the total cost of the State Disaster Relief Program for this past summer estimated at $7,107,159.

“I, along with local officials, senate leadership and representatives from the governor’s office, have been working hard to get the bridge in Kinsman repaired after it was washed out in July. Dozens of my constituents have been unable to reach their homes since that day, and I won’t stop working until the issue has been fixed.” O’Brien said Tuesday.

Kinsman was one of several sites across Ohio designated as a disaster relief area this summer following flooding and high water throughout the state.

Kinsman Trustee Greg Leonhard said news of the additional money “helps reassure the trustees there will be enough money to get the project completed. It’s great to be able to get the funds we need for this work since we operate on a limited budget here.”

Leonhard said the flooding did a lot of damage last summer not only Lakeview Drive and the bridge by the dam but also to other roads in the township.

He said residents of the Lakelands have been cooperative in waiting for the road to get done so they can get back to their homes.

Work on the road is being done by Jet Excavating, which started in late August and is scheduled to be complete work by the end of the month.

According to the state controlling board, which released the funds, the additional dollars will support the State Disaster Relief Program, which is a reimbursement program intended to provide supplemental state assistance to local governments and eligible nonprofit organizations for costs associated with debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repairs related to weather-related damage.

“While I applaud this additional release of funds, we would be much worse off today had it not been for the quick response of Senate leadership and their recognition of the need in my district. Because of this bipartisan collaboration with my office, along with state funding, a new bridge is nearly complete today and we can begin to turn our focus to making sure a disaster like this doesn’t happen again.” O’Brien said.