Shelby main street project rendering

An artist's rendering from the Shelby Main Street Corridor downtown revitalization plan.

SHELBY — The first phase of the Shelby Main Street Corridor Plan is underway with a local civil engineering consultant at the helm. 

Shelby City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Monday to enter into an agreement with K.E. McCartney and Associates, Inc. for engineering services and final design for the Shelby Streetscape Project. 

This is the second large project the city has hired K.E. McCartney and Associates for, earning an endorsement from Councilman Garland Gates. Their headquarters are located at 52 N. Diamond Street in Mansfield. 

"This firm did the design work for the Mansfield Avenue project, and if you recall that was one of the smoothest and one of largest projects we've ever had," Gates said. 

The Streetscape Project is the first of three phases introduced by the Shelby Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) as part of the $3.2 million Shelby Main Street Corridor Plan. The CIC first introduced the plan to the public in July 2019. 

The three-part project includes the Main Street Streetscape project estimated to cost $1.2 million, the Black Fork Commons Plaza project estimated at $1.1 million, and a Black Fork Trail and Stream Restoration project estimated at $900,000.

The Main Street Streetscape would include pedestrian enhancements to provide safe and comfortable access to retailers and downtown open space amenities, including the Black Fork Commons and Skiles Field. It would also improve downtown's aesthetics with added landscaping, improved flowerpots and new furniture.

Richland County commissioners unanimously endorsed the plan in December 2019. The Shelby Foundation also announced it would invest $250,000 towards the project, the largest gift in the foundation's 34-year history.

The revitalization plan will use local, state and federal funds with a city investment projected at $465,000.

No new tax would be created to pay for the project, it would not impact any current street paving projects, and the city's contribution would count for an estimated one-sixth of the total project cost.

According to the agreement between the city and K.E. McCartney and Associates, the maximum compensation for engineering services is $170,657.40. 

Project manager Joe Gies explained the city's portion of the agreement is approximately $33,000 after federal funding provides an 80/20 match. 

"The Federal Highway Administration gives money to the Ohio Department of Transportation, which disperses it through Richland County Regional Planning," Gies explained. "We're paying 20 percent of the engineering costs." 

Gies said the timeline of the Main Street Streetscape project is still a long one; the project will be engineered through the end of 2020 and won't be bid out for construction until the fall of 2021. 

"When you use federal funding, there's a lot of steps you have to take, and for good reason," he said. 

Council also passed as emergencies two ordinances related to the city's funding of the Streetscape project. One ordinance added $140,000 to the city's engineering line item to cover the funding of K.E. McCartney and Associate's engineering costs. 

"The engineering and blueprints for the Streetscape project are being mostly paid by a grant," explained finance director Brian Crum. "In order to account for it in government accounting though, the city has to budget a revenue item for the grant revenue and then an expense item for the expenses relating to the project." 

A second ordinance added $15,000 in an engineering line item for the city's electric fund, which will help pay for the city's portion of the Corridor project. According to Gies, an additional $13,000 will come from the street fund, and $5,000 will come from the sewer fund. 

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