ARa to assist city on grant services

City officials are seeking help from the Administrative Resources association in order to use more than $1.8 million in federal funds on bicycle and pedestrian projects.

The Columbus Board of Works recently approved an addendum to an existing agreement between the city and ARa for this purpose. The work focuses on grant services and has a not-to-exceed amount of $80,000, according to City Engineer/Executive Director of Public Works Dave Hayward.

As stated in the addendum, the Columbus Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is transferring more than $1.8 million to ColumBUS Transit. The funds will be used to “support projects identified in the 2019 ColumBUS Transit and City of Columbus Bicycle Pedestrian Plan to improve connectivity and access to transit amenities.”

Hayward said CAMPO has had difficulty spending federal funds over the past couple of years, which puts the city in a “use it or lose it” situation.

“The funds are now residing in a Transit account and can be used for any projects that support our transit plan, which includes several planned bicycle and pedestrian projects,” he wrote in a memo. “We currently have three projects planned for construction using these funds in FY 2023.”

Hayward told the board that the city plans to use the funds on sidewalk and trail projects.

In order to use the funds, however, the city has to go through certain grant processes, and ARa has presented a proposal to complete the work on its behalf. The association’s work will include environmental compliance services, procurement services, general grant administration technical assistance services, and labor standards compliance services.

The projects need to be completed by the end of this fiscal year, said Hayward.

“We’re in fiscal year ‘23 in federal funding right now,” he explained. “So we’ve got to at least get it under contract for construction by that time.”