When Bunsold Middle School opened six years ago, the building's somewhat-remote location made walking there almost impossible.
That could change, however, if the city receives a federal grant that would fund most of the cost to build a sidewalk to the school.
At the Thursday, April 24, meeting of Marysville City Council, administrators sought approval of a resolution authorizing the mayor to apply for funding through the Ohio Department of Transportation for a Milford Avenue multiuse path project and declaring an emergency.
The project is eligible to receive federal funding administered by ODOT, said Mike Andrako, Marysville's director of public service.
"It's a federal fund that used to be called the Transportation Enhancement Fund. They changed the name to the Transportation Alternative Fund, which is basically for non-motorized types of improvements to roadways," Andrako said.
The proposed 1.5-mile multiuse path would provide a walkway along Milford Avenue from Kenny Lane to Bunsold, 14198 state Route 4.
If the city gets the grant, it will be responsible for at least 20 percent of the construction costs and 100 percent of all other costs associated with the architectural and engineering plans, environmental studies and documentation, and right-of-way plans and acquisition, if necessary.
City Administrator Terry Emery said construction of a sidewalk in the area is overdue.
"This has been an issue that the mayor spoke to me about when I first came to Marysville," Emery said. "To connect to the school is much needed."
The grant would cover 80 percent of the estimated $1.3 million project, which leaves the city responsible for about $260,000. Jeremy Hoyt, city engineer and deputy public service director, said the money could come from the city's general fund, but officials have not made a final determination.
Hoyt said the path would be on the east side of Milford Avenue and the south side of state Route 4 until it connects to Bunsold.
Emery said there are a few stream crossings on the route, so bridges will be incorporated.
"It would be an 8-foot-wide pedestrian bike path project that we believe is critically needed in that area for walkability and connectivity," Emery said.
Marysville school Superintendent Diane Mankins agreed.
"We are certainly excited to increase the accessibility of Bunsold Middle School for members of the Marysville community. We have a fantastic collaborative relationship with the city of Marysville and appreciate their efforts to make this happen," Mankins wrote in an email Friday morning, April 25.
The city is working on a short timeline to submit the application. Officials first wrote a letter of interest to ODOT, which screened the city for funding eligibility. That had to take place before the administration could ask council for approval to submit the formal application.
Because the application deadline is May 4, council waived the second and third readings of the resolution and passed it as an emergency.
"We won't know if we're accepted until this fall. If we are accepted, then much of 2015 will be spent on preparation and design," Emery said. "This project would probably not take place until 2016 or 2017."
Mayor John Gore said the grant is an opportunity to cover most of the cost of a project the city and school district both need.