Richmond’s Beat the Heat program hopes to distribute window air conditioning units with an Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant.

On March 18, Alison Zajdel of the Richmond Environmental Sustainability Commission requested that Richmond Common Council approve interlocal agreement with the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office and a city ordinance to accept $20,000 from OCRA and implement the program. Both were referred to council’s finance committee and will return to council for a vote.

Richmond received a two-year, $120,000 Beat the Heat grant in 2021 from OCRA and Indiana University for a heat study and development of a heat management strategy. The strategy has resulted in implementation of cooling concepts such as planting trees.

OCRA would not allow expenditure of funds remaining from the original grant for the air conditioners, but liked the concept enough to provide an additional $20,000, Zajdel said. The program would include purchase and installation of the air conditioners and a $100 utility credit for recipients.

Residents 65 and older or who have disabilities would be the top priority for receiving air conditioners. Susan Isaacs, the Wayne Township trustee, would administer the application process and air conditioner distribution.

Other business

Council unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with Wayne County to partially fund the Emergency Communications Center. The city’s average share of 911 costs the past five years has been $404,834.36.

Ahead of the March 20 deadline, council unanimously approved Richmond Fire Department’s request to apply for up to $200,000 in grant funding from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Rural Emergency Services Training Grant Program. RFD would use the money to train EMS personnel on addressing substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. The grant would require a 10% local match from EMS funds.

An amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance was sent to the Richmond Advisory Plan Commission for consideration at its March 27 meeting. The amendment for small lots would increase the permitted size of an accessory structure serving as a garage. With current size restrictions, an allowable accessory building is not big enough to function as a garage.

‘Now Entering Richmond’

Ball State University PBS is looking for Richmond storytellers to contribute to its “Now Entering Richmond” program scheduled to air at 8 p.m. June 6.

Storytellers for the hourlong documentary will be filmed April 12 and 13, a delay from the original dates, Mayor Ron Oler said. Anyone interested in providing a story about Richmond should visit

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A version of this article appeared in the March 27 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.