Saturday, September 22, 2018 Medina 56°
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Veterans can ride Medina County buses for free

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Medina County commissioners Tuesday commend retiring Jeff Van Loon, second from right, whose last day with the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District is Friday. Commissioners, from left, are Adam Friedrick, Bill Hutson and Pat Geissman. BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — All veterans in Medina County will be able to ride Medina County Public Transit buses for free starting Sunday.

They’ll have to show their Ohio veteran identification card, which can be obtained at the Medina County Recorder’s Office at the administration building.

The Medina County Veterans Service Office will pay the MCPT about $28,000 a year for the service, veterans office Director Ed Zackery said at Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting.

“We’re going to try this from July 1 to the end of the year to see how it works. There are a couple reasons for this. Historically, veterans ride public transit across the United States for free. Secondly, it could be an economy boost,” he said.

“If we get the numbers we think we’re going to get, going forward there are a couple grants I can apply for (to cover the yearly fee).”

He said there are 13,850 veterans in the county and expects about 1,000 to use the bus service.

Zackery said he’s been talking to MCPT Director Mike Salamone about ridership for veterans for about six months.

There are some veterans, senior citizens, who also attend functions at the Medina County Office for Older Adults. Those veterans are eligible for free loop rides on the MCPT with an orange identification card.

“That’s up to the veteran to see what they want to do,” Zackery said.

“They can use their passes or come over to us and we’ll pay for them. Most of the veterans will identify with us and use the ID card.”

MCPT buses travel all over the county.

“There are a lot of veterans I talk to that simply can’t afford to go shopping because they’ve already used all their bus passes,” Zackery said. “This will get them out of the house and getting more interaction.

“We think it’s a win-win.”

In other news:

  • Commissioners purchased a 2018 Ram 1500 Express Crew Cab 4x4 for the Medina County Sheriff’s Office from Progressive Chrysler Jeff Dodge Ram for about $24,425. Engines blew on two sheriff’s vehicles last week, county Administrator Scott Miller said, thus the need for a new vehicle.
  • An electronic door and monitoring system at the Medina County Jail will be replaced at a cost of $259,390 by Security Automation Systems Inc. of Indianapolis.
  • Proximity Marketing of Brunswick will rebuild the website for Medina County Public Transit at a cost of $5,000. Director Salamone said 80 percent of the cost of the new website will be paid for with federal grants. The remaining 20 percent is a local match.
  • Year-to-date MCPT ridership has increased by 1,904 trips from the same time in 2017. On-demand trips are up 1,372 trips and fixed routes increased by 532 trips, Salamone said.
  • Jeff Van Loon, who is retiring Friday after 12 years with the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District, was presented Tuesday with a commendation from county commissioners. The office will host an open house today in Van Loon’s honor. Jim Dieter was hired to replace Van Loon.
  • The Medina County Veterans Office has been issued a credit card. Director Zackery had been using his personal card on occasions. “It’s solely for housing for veterans in need,” Zackery said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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