July 22, 2014

Elyria
Clear
67°F
test

North Ridgeville Schools gets $400k in path funds

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — City children should have a safer means of getting to and from school within the next few years thanks to nearly $400,000 being awarded through a state program.

The money will be used to construct sidewalks and bike pathways at two of the North Ridgeville school district’s three elementary schools.

North Ridgeville Superintendent Jim Powell hadn’t had a chance to review the award but said “at first glance, it appears we got everything we asked for,” Powell said.

The money was earmarked from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Project.

About $300,000 will pay for construction of sidewalks at Liberty Elementary on Jaycox Road, which has the fewest sidewalks leading to and from the school.

Around $76,000 will be used to add sidewalks behind Wilcox Elementary on Bainbridge Road that would link the school to nearby residential areas.

Plans also may include bike pathways to connect schools with nearby neighborhoods so children don’t have to use sidewalks on highly traveled streets.

The fewest upgrades will occur at Lear North Elementary on Lear-Nagle Road, which houses all of the district’s first-graders, who are bused to school, Powell said.

About $22,000 is for safety education designed to inform kindergarten through eighth-grade students about the physical pluses of walking or bicycling to school, including reducing obesity.

One item the district did not get funding for was a $73,600 improvement project at North Ridgeville Middle School that would have included user-activated amber-colored flashers to alert drivers to student pedestrians at intersections lacking traffic signals or at crosswalks in the middle of a block.

The school faces Center Ridge Road, the city’s main traffic artery.

Powell said he understood the rationale of the state in not approving those funds, since the district is looking to build a new school for third- through eighth-graders in another location.

None of the major improvements are expected to get under way for a year or more.

“With the closing of this school year and getting ready for the next, we’re at least a year out,” Powell said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.