A Napoleon committee has recommended council approved about $12,000 for a passenger bus to be used in the city.
The Napoleon Municipal Properties, Buildings, Land Use and Economic Development Committee heard a proposal from Henry County Transportation Network Director Mike Saneholtz this week.
The county network is in the process of creating a deviated bus route system that would serve residents differently than is currently done by the service. Currently the network has a contract with the senior center to provide transportation to seniors for medical trips and designated days for shopping trips.
The network receives much of its funding through grants, and Saneholtz told the city committee a new one through the Ohio Department of Transportation is coming up which could be advantageous to Napoleon.
“We have to realize the State of Ohio was awarded $72 million,” Saneholtz said. He added that federal money is going to rail systems, bus depots and other transportation hubs around the state.
“Napoleon has the opportunity to become part of this grant, with a 20% match, which would amount to $11,938,” Saneholtz said.
That would be a portion of the purchase price of a 14-passenger bus that would be used by the transportation network inside the city limits.
The proposed bus route would be a deviated system, meaning people would need to call ahead to get to where they need to go.
“The next biggest thing about this is employment,” Saneholtz said. “Right now there’s no money for employment (transportation). So this system is going to get people to work.”
He added planned stops already include the new JAC building, Campbell Soup Supply Co. and Keller Logistics.
Saneholtz also said the system would help residents living in Glenwood Estates, as well as those living in the area near the State Route 108 and U.S. 24 interchange. That area has been the focus of safety concerns for several years because of people walking from the hotels in the area to the shopping complex, though there is no sidewalk available.
A roundabout with sidewalk is set for construction there, but Saneholtz said having a bus available would be even safer.
“It’s under $12,000 to provide a way for people to stop walking along State Route 108 when it’s icy, snowy. That alone might be worth the price,” said Napoleon Mayor Jason Maassel.
“And, it will help people get to and from work,” he added.
The fee to residents would be about $2 per ride, meaning someone going from their house to a store and back would be charged $4. Saneholtz said a pre-loaded card likely will be made available to use rather than paying cash.
The hours of operation would be determined by need.
Saneholtz also said he believes the situation could grow in the future, and he expects the bus to last 8-10 years.
Earlier in the year, the Henry County commissioners committed $81,227 toward the purchase of eight modified minivans and two, 14-passenger buses. The total cost is $406,135 and the commissioners’ share is also 20%. Federal funding will account for the remaining $324,908.