Major Ohio landmarks, events slated to receive big investments from budget surplus

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — $700 million of extra tax dollars will likely soon be allocated to projects across the state. The money will be spent as part of a “one-time strategic community investment fund.”

“Our purpose with these one-time funds is to return taxpayers their money through community projects throughout the state which enhance our quality of life,” Chair of the Ohio Senate Finance Committee, Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said. “These projects are in addition to the $3.1 billion in tax cuts passed in our last operating budget.”

“These investments will be transformational for our Ohio communities – large and small – urban, suburban and rural.” Ohio Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) said. “While this proposal is not final, I look forward to the continued collaboration to fund these vital projects across our state.”

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Right now, the money is being spent in Senate Bill 288, sponsored by Sen. Dolan. The largest appropriation in the bill goes towards the “Hamilton County Convention Center District Development;” that project is receiving $46 million. The second largest spending items is the Cincinnati Open tennis tournament, which is being funded to the tune of $27.5 million.

“This additional $700 million gives the General Assembly an opportunity to reinvest in our communities,” Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said.

Back in February, the House allocated money before sending it to the Senate. At the time, Ohio House Finance Chair, Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) said one important piece was the Transportation Research Center. They are set to receive $24 million as the bill currently stands.

“They asked for a big amount of money, but it has a huge statewide impact, they have thousands of employees and it’s something the state competes with other states,” he said back in February. “This is a competition of economic development in our area.”

The bill does have smaller appropriations, for things like pickleball courts, local fairgrounds and small school projects. Other notable allocations include:

  • Columbus Symphony Orchestra – $18.5 million

  • Downtown Columbus Capital Line – $10 million

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Village – $9.7 million

  • John Glenn International Airport improvements – $7.5 million

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum expansion and renovation project – $7 million

  • Flats River development – $3.5 million

  • West Side Market in Cleveland – $2.4 million

There will be hearings for the bill in Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday, likely with opportunities for public testimony.

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