Ken Zolnier was one of those dedicated souls who walked house-to-house last winter in Masury conducting an income survey.
“There were guys who went on the 24th of December – Christmas Eve – knocking on doors,” said Brookfield Trustee Dan Suttles. “That’s a commitment.”
A commitment that bore fruit. The state awarded Trumbull County a $750,000 Neighborhood Revitalization Grant under the Community Development Block Grant program to make infrastructure improvements in the section of Masury below Route 62. With funds from other sources added to it, the project is valued at $855,000 to pave streets, build sidewalks, install storm water pipe and create a small park.
“It’s great,” Zolnier said Oct. 5 at a trustees meeting called at Six Fourteen Church in Masury as a neighborhood celebration. “I’m excited for the neighborhood. I just hope everybody appreciates it.”
Ginger Letorneau appreciates it.
“I’m more than thrilled – I’m elated,” she said.
Even though flooding was Letorneau’s key issue, “I think the park is gonna be great,” she said. “I think it’s gonna be good for the neighborhood.”
“It’s exciting,” added Rebecca Gentzler, who lives next to where the park will be installed. “I love the idea of things happening in Masury.”
Things won’t happen right away, though.
Julie Green, interim director of Trumbull County Planning Commission, the writer of the grant and the key motivator who made sure everyone with a piece to contribute to the grant followed through, said the county needs to reach agreements with the state on the grant issuance.
Trumbull County Engineer’s Office Deputy Engineer Gary Shaffer said his office will design the street and sidewalk improvements, but the county will have to hire an engineer to design the storm water work.
“It will be spring,” said Green, who was not able to attend the Oct. 5 meeting, but commented in an earlier interview. “We’ll try to get everything procured through the winter and construction set to begin in the spring.”
Officials said repeatedly that Trumbull County was able to receive this competitive grant because the cooperation between local and county officials and local residents was unmatched. At the local level, Lois Werner of the Brookfield Township Historical Society provided historical background on the neighborhood. Tim Taylor agreed to donate land at Mulberry and First streets for the park, which will be named in honor of Taylor’s grandfather, Sam Jennings. Businesses located in the target area provided five-year projections. About 40 residents attended a public meeting, and their issues were used to set priorities that are reflected in the grant projects; and residents were willing to go door-to-door to assure that the neighborhood met low- and moderate-income guidelines.
According to Suttles, Green called that level of community buy-in “unheard of.”
“Usually, the county officials, the trustees do that,” Suttles said. “We did that. But we needed their help. That was immeasurable.”
“It is gonna make a difference,” Trustee Ron Haun said of the projects. “Just like it says, it’s a neighborhood revitalization grant. This is a shot in the arm, guys. Let’s take pride in this project and make it work well.”
That pride needs to be ongoing, said Trustee Gary Lees.
“Take pride and take care of it and maintain it, on our end and also on your end,” Lees said.
Others present at the meeting included Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda, Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith and state Rep. Gil Blair.
These projects are planned, although Shaffer said there could be tweaks as they are designed:
Upgrade storm drainage pipe on the north side of Second Street from Miller Street to Hubbard Masury Road, and on the east side of Miller from Third to Second streets.
Repave First, Second, Third and Elm streets from Broadway Avenue to Hubbard Masury Road, as well as Miller and Short streets.
Install sidewalks along Elm from Hubbard Masury Road to Broadway.
Construct a park on two parcels at Mulberry and First streets to include a fitness system, benches, trash receptacles, a Little Free Library and a pet waste station.