July 15, 2005
Mayors return from D.C. with new insight on aid -- Homrighausen, Brodzinski discover cities are eligible for more federal assistance
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON – Dover Mayor Richard P. Homrighausen emerged from an economic development summit hosted by Rep. Bob Ney, R-St. Clairsville, Thursday with a tangible achievement – confirmation that the city could be eligible for federal aid for a community-wide fiber optic network under development in Dover.
“With all the cutbacks in the state we need just a little kick start to go to the next step,” said Homrighausen, among 14 local officials from Ney’s eastern Ohio congressional district who joined in the two-day event.
Meanwhile, New Philadelphia Mayor Ron Brodzinski discovered that a different federal program could provide funds for economic development downtown.
“We want to look at what may be available,” he said.
Along with other mayors and county commissioners from nearby counties, Homrighausen and Brodzinski attended briefings given by President Bush’s top adviser Karl Rove and other White House officials in the morning before meeting with other agency officials in the afternoon.
Ney has met with mayors and other local leaders in his district in the past, but he said this was the first time he invited them to meet with government leaders in Washington.
The number of officials who attended was less than expected, but Ney said he was happy with the turnout.
“It’s summer vacations,” he said, noting unusually hot weather in Washington at present. “This will be in April next time.”
Homrighausen, a Republican, learned of his city’s chance to get aid for its fiber optic project during a question session with Randy Hunt, the U.S. Department of Agriculture director for the state of Ohio.
“I really appreciated the opportunity to get some of these answers,” he said.
During a presentation by Anne Pope, chairwoman of the Appalachian Regional Commission, Brodzinski discovered that his city could get help for downtown development from the agency.
Brodzinski, a Democrat, said the briefings provided useful information and contacts.
“We take that back, sort it out, look at our particular needs and go from there,” he said.
While the local officials paid their own travel expenses and lodging, some meals and transportation to the White House were picked up by the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, based in Nelsonville.