Pickerington officials recently submitted an application to request a grant that would help fund construction of new sidewalks along two streets near schools.

After an Oct. 23 incident in which a 12-year-old Pickerington boy was injured after being struck by a vehicle while skateboarding on West Columbus Street near Fair Oaks Drive, Pickerington City Manager Greg Butcher and several Pickerington City Council members said they would work to expand the sidewalk system in 2020.

On March 6, the city took a step officials said they hope will yield more sidewalks near Ridgeview Junior High School and Pickerington Elementary School.

"We submitted a Safe Routes to School grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation on March 6," Butcher said.

"This project would include a sidewalk along West Columbus Street and Long Road."

The Safe Routes to School program helps to enable students in grades K-8 to walk or ride bicycles to school safely.

Since its implementation in 2008, ODOT has disbursed grants to communities to connect sidewalks from neighborhoods to schools. Cities that receive grants are required to provide a specified level of matching funds.

Depending on a municipality's application, funds could be obtained to improve crosswalks and sidewalks, or to enhance local safety education and programs.

The city is seeking the grant to help offset the estimated $400,000 to $500,000 cost for the West Columbus Street and Long Road sidewalks.

"Conceptually, the sidewalk would be on the north side of the roads within the city right of way and extend from just west of Hill Road to Poplar Street, a distance of about 2,800 feet," Butcher said.

Butcher said the project was developed after two pedestrians were struck by cars while walking on or along the street within the past six months.

"Fortunately, the pedestrian injuries were minor," he said.

"The project aligns with similar types of projects I was involved with while employed at Violet Township.

"We should know the grant's status within a couple of months."

At the outset of this year, newly-elected council president Tricia Sanders and vice president Tony Barletta both said they wanted the city to pursue projects to expand sidewalks, particularly along West Columbus Street.

Council unanimously endorsed the grant application prior to the city submitting it to ODOT.

"Keeping our citizens, especially kids, walking to school, safe will always be a major priority," Sanders said.