NORTH OLMSTED

Diesel fuel has served the city’s vehicle fleet well. The exhaust created in the service garage, however, has not.

In the quest for better breathing, the city is expected to use a Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) Energized Community Grant to upgrade the ventilation system at the facility.

The grant is awarded annually to NOPEC member communities and is not competitive like other types of grants. Mayor Kevin Kennedy expects to receive $82,403, which will go entirely toward the $122,000 system that will filter out the harmful exhaust.

The remaining $39,597 will be paid by the city.

“It has been (on the radar) for awhile,” Kennedy said of the new ventilation system. “Since (fleet manager) Tony Farella took over a few years ago, he’s got a list of priorities and we’re onto that priority. We’re happy to keep checking things off Tony’s list.”

North Olmsted’s fleet also includes vehicles used by the police and fire departments, and all get serviced at the four-bay garage, 5200 Dover Center Road. The half-dozen employees who work on the vehicles there also service the Olmsted Township fleet.

The exhaust released from those vehicles can be dangerous. A known carcinogen, it can also contribute to severe ailments including heart disease.

Once grant funds arrive, the ventilation system could be put in place as soon as this spring and be finished by summertime.

“We want to keep our employees safe and make sure they have clean air as they work on the vehicles,” Kennedy said.

In past years, NOPEC grants have been used to upgrade the HVAC system at city hall, as well as windows at the fire department. The grant must go toward projects that promote energy efficiency and savings on electricity and gas.

Contact this reporter at cvoloschuk@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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