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LaRe, Ohio House Pass Strategic Community Investment Fund

February 7, 2024
Jeff LaRe News

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COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today approved the Strategic Community Investment Fund as part of Substitute House Bill 2, which includes historic investments for local projects, announced Vice Chairman of the House Finance Committee, State Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.). 

The Strategic Community Investment Fund includes $350 million for statewide, regional, and local projects, nearly $15.5 million of which will be directed toward Fairfield County and the surrounding communities. The fund was established under the state’s main operating budget passed in 2023 and includes excess funding from the previous fiscal year.

“These investments honor community roots while anticipating the future and strengthening our communities to serve generations of Ohioans yet to come,” said LaRe.  

Due to ongoing conservative fiscal stewardship, LaRe was able to secure the following one-time funding for projects in Fairfield County:

  • $10 million to revitalize the Buckeye Lake North Shore Park and Pier, maintaining Ohio’s oldest state park and popular tourist destination;
  • $2 million to purchase and renovate the Fairfield County Government Services Building, delivering helpful resources to residents of the county;
  • $1 million to repurpose the OP Chaney Grain Elevator into a cultural heritage event center, preserving community history for generations to come;
  • $1 million to renovate the Violet Township Event Center, boosting the entertainment industry;
  • $350,000 rehabilitate the Zeller-Smith covered bridge, ensuring public safety and maintaining a historic local landmark;
  • $250,000 to upgrade the Wendel Pool Dehumidification System at the Family YMCA of Lancaster and Fairfield County, providing opportunities for kids and families to engage in community programs;
  • $234,410 to establish Pickerington Connects and develop new pathways and walkways, promoting outdoor recreation and connecting businesses;
  • $225,000 to replace the Elmwood Playground, establishing a neighborhood gathering place and fostering fun;
  • $150,000 to restore the Lancaster Bell and Clock Tower, investing in downtown preservation;
  • $125,000 to support the Sycamore Creek Park Pond Restoration, preserving the infrastructure and natural beauty of the area; and
  • $100,000 to modernize the Expanding Horizons Meals on Wheels Senior Services Center, ensuring Ohio seniors receive the care and support they deserve. 

In addition to these local investments, this legislation also includes additional statewide capital investments of:

  • $600 million for the School Building Program Assistance Fund;
  • $400 million for the Public Works Commission Local Public Infrastructure and State Capital Improvement Program;
  • $397.6 million for higher education projects around the state; and
  • $250 million for local jail construction across Ohio.

These investments will be incorporated as part of the greater State Capital Budget bill, a two-year construction budget for capital projects.