Athens County projects earmarked in new biennial budget

Three Athens County projects will collectively receive over $1 million in funding from the state’s next biennial budget.
A photo of the Athens Armory in the summertime, an American flag waving in the forefront, lush trees surrounding it on either side.
WOUB file photo. Used with permission.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three Athens County projects will collectively receive over $1 million in funding from the state’s biennial budget, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed Tuesday. 

State rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), who represents Athens, Meigs, Morgan and part of Washington counties in Ohio House District 94, was a primary sponsor of House Bill 33, the state’s $86.1 billion 2024–2025 budget bill. Edwards is chairman of the House Finance Committee.

As 2024 Local Development Projects sourced from the $23.1 million general revenue fund, the Dairy Barn Arts Center and Passion Works Studio each will receive $250,000, while the Athens Hall of Honor Veterans Memorial will receive $600,000. 


Dairy Barn Executive Director Leah Magyary said the “substantial” funding will enable the arts center to fix its “aging historic slate roof” and repair its elevator. 

“We are immensely grateful for the unwavering support and belief in our mission demonstrated by the state government,” Magyary said in an email. “This funding provides us with a transformative opportunity to not only address critical infrastructure needs but also strengthen our ability to serve as a vibrant cultural hub for generations to come.”

Passion Works Executive Director Patty Mitchell said the $250,000 “changes so much.”

“It gives us some ease,” Mitchell said in a statement. “52% of our annual operating budget is covered by the sale of Passion Works art and product. It is our intention to increase sales and naturally expand employment opportunities and fulfilling our mission. With this funding it will help us to do more.”

Mitchell championed Edwards. “[He] fought and came through for us and the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center,” she stated. “The arts are about identity, creative economy, attracting visitors to our region and living a more joyful and delightful life.”

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The Athens Hall of Honor Veterans Memorial will be located within the historic Athens Armory at 2. W. Carpenter St, according to a June 2022 report by the Athens Messenger. Last year, the state construction budget awarded the Armory with $600,000.

Additionally, earlier this spring, the Armory project received $2 million through the governor’s Appalachian Community Grant Program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. The $4.5 million project will convert the building to a coworking space.

Other District 94 projects earmarked in the biennial budget include: 

  • $250,000 for Scipio Township, Meigs County, for community development. 
  • $100,000 for renovations by the Meigs County Pioneer and Historical Society.
  • $55,000 for the Racine Fire Department for building repairs.
  • $110,000 in support for Star Mill Park in Racine.

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