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Published: Thursday, 11/9/2006

Northwood plans meeting on loss of grant

Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner and state Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) have scheduled a public meeting tonight concerning the recent diversion of a $4 million grant for a highway-railroad grade separation project on Wales Road to projects in Sandusky and Vermilion, Ohio.

"Two fundamental rules of government are communication and fairness," Mr. Gardner said yesterday in a statement announcing the meeting. "The action taken to divert money away from Northwood violates both rules. I'm going to do everything I can to restore these important funds."

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Northwood City Council chambers, prior to a regular council meeting. Along with city officials, representatives from the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, the office of U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor (R., Old Fort), and the Wood County commissioners have been invited to attend.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) disclosed Monday that the federal grant for the so-called Vickers project was reassigned last spring to other rail-related projects because the local project no longer involved building a bridge to separate a congested junction of two busy rail lines in Northwood.

Instead, the Ohio Department of Transportation is advancing a cheaper project to build two bridges to carry Wales over those railroad lines.

At the time the federal grant was allocated, Northwood was in Miss Kaptur's congressional district, but redistricting based on the 2000 Census resulted in the city being shifted to Mr. Gillmor's district.

The two projects to which the funds were transferred - a bridge on U.S. 6 in Sandusky and noise walls along a rail line in Vermilion - are both within Miss Kaptur's current district.

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