Pataskala residents and business owners within 500 feet of the railroad tracks on Main Street are being asked to meet with city officials regarding the planned sidewalk replacement project.

Pataskala residents and business owners within 500 feet of the railroad tracks on Main Street are being asked to meet with city officials regarding the planned sidewalk replacement project.

City planner Dianne Harris said the meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church, 405 S. Main Street.

"We recognize that this is going to create some disruption for businesses," Harris said.

She suggested that people attend the meeting to learn more about the project and to express any concerns.

Pataskala will use $250,000 of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to replace the sidewalks on Main Street and bring them into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Kate Stickle, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), said the project includes replacing existing sidewalks, adding ADA ramps and updating curb ramps for ADA compliance.

Plans are being developed, Stickle said, and the project is expected to go out for bid in March 2010.

Harris said that during the meeting city officials would talk to business owners about maintaining pedestrian access to businesses while the sidewalks are being replaced.

Stickle said the state requires contractors to maintain access to businesses during business hours. Contractors could do the project in sections to keep access prevalent; make a bridge over the newly poured concrete so people could walk over the new sidewalk; or use a concrete that cures within a few hours, she said.

Other people might have concerns about the number of trees that will be removed as part of the project. Harris said the city is removing trees with large root systems that disturb the sidewalks.

"They will be replaced with a more suitable species," she said.

Harris sent notices of the meeting to 49 property owners.

Repairing old sidewalks ties in with the city's recent housing-rehabilitation study, completed last summer. The city's ad hoc committee on housing revitalization studied three areas in the city and determined the city needs to spend money on infrastructure, such as sidewalks and a bicycle trail connecting all of the city's neighborhoods. The committee's list included ways to improve the city's three older neighborhoods and suggested a plan for the city to apply for grant money to help make changes.

Main Street was included in the portion referred to as the old downtown of Pataskala. Other areas studied included Columbia Center and Summit Station.

Last year, the city conducted an income survey of the old downtown of Pataskala to see if the area would be eligible for Community Development Block Grants funds, which are available for low- to moderate-income areas. Harris said the city was able to get Jefferson Street included and to receive some CDBG funding for water and sewer projects in that area.

This year, the city will survey parts of Summit Station to see if CDBG guidelines would apply there.

She said any personal income information is recorded without names to protect privacy.

Pataskala is trying to seek as much grant money for projects as possible because the city currently operates without a permanent funding source. Pataskala City Council recently agreed to put an income-tax issue on the November ballot, but it would collect different amounts depending on the year, if voters approve measure. For example, $136,001 would be collected in 2010, followed by $1,676,720 in 2011 and $2,420,677 in 2012, according to estimates from the Regional Income Tax Agency.