SPENCERVILLE — Before the end of 2016, more than 1,000 feet of five-feet-wide sidewalk will be a part of Spencerville’s landscape.
Village Administrator Sean Chapman said the need for the addition is a result of missing sidewalks in the area. Though residents are expected to maintain existing sidewalks, officials thought it inappropriate to expect locals to front the bill to put them in.
To solve the problem, council members discovered the Safe Routes to School Project, a national initiative that provides grant money to communities to construct sidewalks for students walking to school.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $150,000, which will be covered by the grant, the village council and the Ohio Department of Transportation. While the village will pay about $20,000, the grant offers $96,000 for the sidewalk’s construction and the department of transportation has agreed to cover any remaining fees.
Costs could, of course, change, Chapman said.
“Obviously you never know until you go to do it,” he said.
Having been approved by the council last week, the project’s engineer is working on stage three of the final plans to be approved by the department and Chapman.
“The village has provided its full support of the project and adopted legislation to justify that,” Chapman said.
Though the construction of the sidewalk isn’t expected to take long, the administrator said that’s only the beginning.
“It’s a lengthy process,” he said. “No matter how many improvements you make, kids are going to walk where they want to anyhow.”
With that in mind, Chapman will work with the council, schools and local law enforcement to help kinds understand why and how they should use the new routes. The village will also have an evaluation to prove whether or not people are using the new paved walk ways and how authorities are enforcing or reminding locals to use the sidewalks.