Home Money Grosvenor to Receive Safe Routes to School Renovation

Grosvenor to Receive Safe Routes to School Renovation

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The city of Athens is in the process of replacing an older, worn down set of stairs along Grosvenor Street in order to continue their work to improve local children’s walk to school through the Safe Routes to School program.

The stairs are located on the Merkle St. right of way that runs from Grosvenor St. to Fairview Ave.

“There is no data on how many kids the staircase serves, though several dozen citizens walk it daily, more in the warmer months,” Andy Stone, city engineer and director of Public Works said.

The Safe Routes to School program is a project funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The goal of the program is “to assist communities in developing and implementing projects and programs that encourage and enable children in grades Kindergarten through eight, including those with disabilities to walk or bike to school safely,” according to ODOT’s website.

The current staircases are in poor condition and there have been calls among the community to have them replaced. The current stairs are anywhere from 25 to 30 years old and are made of pressure treated lumber, according to Stone.

The proposed replacement lumber will be white oak wood, which might last ten years longer (40 years in total). The project will cost an estimated $49,000.

There is another stretch of stairs along Grosvenor and Franklin, which is also being targeted by Safe Routes to Schools. This stretch would be about 200 feet from the bottom of the run of stairs being replaced now.

If this project is confirmed, it will likely cost around $35,000 and would be constructed in the summer of 2014.

The city has already benefitted from previous Safe Routes to School grants. Two sidewalks were constructed behind East Elementary along with the purchase of crossing lights on streets located near Athens schools.

“It has been a good use for our tax dollars,” East Elementary principal Denny Boger said in 2012. “It has also made it safer for kids from the elementary age to seniors who are at school after hours to come and go as they please.”

Projects like this are helping to address problems with transportation routes and services to Athens schools. Kent Butler, the First Ward Rep. for the Athens City Council weighed in on the Safe Routes program itself.

“The Safe Routes to School program helps address some of these needs,” Butler said. “The program and funding is designed to help deter childhood obesity as well as to help improve safer travel routes to the public schools.”

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