Safe Routes to School
New sidewalks should be finished by Aug. 31
It is not unusual to see someone walking in the grass along North Maple Street from the U.S Route 33 bridge to Amrine Mill Road.
Soon those people will have concrete under their feet.
Orange cones and barrels are lined up along North Maple Street to make way for sidewalks as part of a Safe Routes to School plan.
"Contractors expect to be complete by Aug. 31. The goal is to have all the sidewalks in place by the time school starts," Marysville City Project Engineer Rob Priestas said. "But that's weather-dependent, so there's no guarantee."
The city of Marysville is using money from an Ohio Department of Transportation program called Ohio's Safe Routes to School that helps communities develop projects that encourage and help children through eighth grade walk or ride their bikes to school.
"There are two completely separate funding projects with two separate funding cycles," Priestas said. "Back in 2010, we submitted the application for the infrastructure we're installing now.
"In the 2010 application, we were awarded $412,000," he said. "The sidewalk improvements are a big portion of the program. We have bike ramp realignment on Wilderness Drive, which was a small section of bike path."
The project also includes miscellaneous signs and striping improvements at crosswalks throughout the city.
Marysville Middle School, Bunsold Middle School, Edgewood Elementary, Creekview Intermediate and Mill Valley Elementary will also receive nine bike racks as part of the project.
With Marysville Middle School still non-operational, it will be up to the district to decide the best placement on the property for those racks.
More bike racks are in the works for the district but they are included in an application for a second grant which the local Safe Routes to School Commission submitted earlier this year.
The Safe Routes to School program addresses engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation. The city, Marysville schools, the Union County Health Department, the Marysville Police Department and the Union County Sheriff's Office make up the Safe Routes to School Commission. In 2009, the group followed ODOT's requirement by establishing a school travel plan, which has been the basis for all the grant requests that followed.
"This last submittal that went in early 2012 is the one where the sidewalk on Milford Avenue wasn't funded and the bike racks were," Priestas said.
The new sidewalks on North Maple Street and Hickory Drive total around 3,500 linear feet; they will be constructed by New Comer Concrete. Property owners along the sidewalks' path will be responsible for sidewalk maintenance, just like any other city sidewalk.