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Jan. 6—Painesville officials are seeking grants to plant trees in the city and purchase new radio equipment for its fire department.

City Council authorized officials to apply for both grants at its final 2023 meeting.

The city can apply for up to $50,000 in emerging program funding from the Ohio Urban Forestry Grant Program, said Assistant City Manager Tony Zampedro. Officials intend to plant “native trees” that are “larger caliper” and “appropriate for the public right-of-way” if the city receives the grant.

The city would not be required to match the funding.

The first phase of work would be conducted along the Richmond Street corridor near state Route 2, Zampedro said. Other trees would be planted to “screen” the city’s electric plant cooling facility from Richmond Street.

“That’s the first effort, but after that, the program, we’re hoping to go city-wide,” he said.

“Should we be successful and establish such a program, subsequent grant cycles could likely be much larger, so we can get back into the business of putting in appropriate street trees in our right-of-ways, as well as the possibility of planting trees in people’s front yards as well,” he added.

Zampedro said that the city would partner with the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District for grant management if it receives the funding.

The grant is being offered by the Ohio Division of Forestry, with funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and U.S. Forest Service. Applicants will learn about funding by Jan. 31.

Council also authorized an application for an equipment grant from the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Painesville City Fire Chief Tom Hummel said that the fire department is looking to purchase a new portable radio, radio batteries and radio battery chargers.

“Our radios are reaching end of their service life,” Hummel said. “In the meantime, our batteries are all going bad, and we don’t have any replacements, so we’re hoping that we are successful in this grant to replace those batteries to keep our radios working till we can get them replaced.”

He said that the city can receive up to $15,000 from the grant. The fire department has also set aside funding from its five-year fire levy to cover additional costs.

The department applies for the grant every year, Hummel added. It received its most recent award “a couple years ago,” when it used $10,000 to purchase a new hose and gear drier for its fire station.

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