Northwest News

Sidewalks expected to be installed near Centennial

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Sidewalks will finally be coming to a stretch of Godown Road in the vicinity of Centennial High School, but not until 2014.

It's about time, but better late than never, Northwest Civic Association chairman John Ehlers indicated last week.

"I know that we've been talking about sidewalks at Centennial since before 2007, and they are now on the horizon," Ehlers said.

The project, on the schedule for next year, covers a 0.6-mile stretch on both sides of Godown Road between Bethel and Francisco roads, according to Rick Tilton, assistant director of the Columbus Department of Public Service.

"It's been several years, but as we go around the city we have only so much money every year, and we hit that bad stretch in '08 and '09 when we didn't have any money," Tilton said.

Ehlers credited the lobbying efforts of Centennial High School students who have served as civic association trustees over the past dozen or so years with finally getting the sidewalk construction scheduled.

"I know that has been a topic on their agenda when talking to City Council," Ehlers said.

"Sidewalks are always the first one that comes up," he said.

"It's certainly a safety issue. It's something that we have been looking forward to for a long time."

Ehlers joined the NWCA board in 2007, was off for a period and then returned in 2011, and sidewalks along Godown Road near CHS remained an issue for adult and student trustees.

"Every group of student trustees that I was on the board with has expressed this was one of their top concerns, and I think they hear this from other students in the school," Ehlers said.

"For our current set of student trustees, every one of them mentioned sidewalks as a top priority, so it's certainly been on the students' consciousness for a while."

Since 2000, according to an announcement for an open house regarding a proposed sidewalk project for later this month on Ferris Road near the Northland area, Mayor Michael B. Coleman and city council members have invested more than $23 million to build 79.13 miles of new sidewalk.

"Many of these sidewalks were built near schools where no sidewalks previous existed," the announcement stated.

That's among the criteria for evaluating projects, Tilton said, along with the proximity of recreation centers and housing for senior citizens.

Since voters approved an increase in the city's income tax in August 2009, Tilton said between seven and nine miles of new sidewalks are being constructed annually.

The Godown Road project is estimated to cost $400,000, the assistant director added, but competitive bidding will determine a final price for the work.

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