By Mayor Eileen Bulan
The City of Vermilion works with many entities on a day to day basis to help improve our City. One of these organizations that we work very closely with is the Erie County Regional Planning Commission. They help us with our grants and plans for the community. A part of Regional Planning is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was created in 2003 as a result of the federal statute that states that every urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000 residents must establish a MPO. The 2000 census revealed that the Sandusky Area had a population of over 50,000 people. The Erie County MPO was created and is administered by the Erie Regional Planning Commission. The Erie Regional Planning Commission jurisdiction covers all of Erie County and the Lorain County portion of the City of Vermilion. In the 2010 census, the MPO area revealed a population of less than 50,000 people in the urbanized area. Due to the support on the local, state and federal levels, Erie Regional Planning Commission was able to maintain its designation as an MPO.
This organization is in charge of many facets of transportation for the entire county. They work closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation to pave major roads in each community. In Vermilion, our major arterial roads are Vermilion, Sunnyside, West River and Jerusalem Roads. These road projects are funded 80% by ODOT. As you know, in the last few years, we have paved the entire length of West River Road and Jerusalem Road. This year, we will see a new traffic light system on Liberty Avenue in our city. In 2019, you will see the paving of Vermilion Road from Liberty to Brownhelm Station Road. We will continue to submit projects as they become available to us. We will also petition the state to add Highbridge Road to our major road system once the bridge is completed. The MPO just recently passed a Coordinated Transportation Plan for the entire urbanized area.
There are many committees of the MPO. Tony Valerius, our Service Director, attends the Technical Advisory Committee meetings each month and I attend the Policy Committee meetings. There is also a Safety Committee and a Citizens Advisory Committee. The meetings have representatives from all areas of the county. All the projects are discussed, ranked and prioritized in the schedule. All the meetings are open to the public.
The MPO also prepares long range plans for twenty-five years in the future. The last one was completed in 2015 and will expire in 2040. They also work on other transportations plans and administer the Specialized Transportation Grant Program. Lucy Idol School in Vermilion has obtained new vans through this grant program.
This is just one part of the service that Erie Regional Planning provides for the City of Vermilion. They coordinate and administer our downtown grant and neighborhood revitalization grant as well as work with us on the Comprehensive Housing Improvement Grant Program (CHIP) funding.
This organization has always been a real help to our city and we look forward to working closely with them for years to come. If you are interested in learning more about the Erie Regional Planning MPO, visit their website at: eriecounty.oh.gov. or call our office for more information.