Paving the way for road projects

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Sandra Ray lives in a Cape Cod, built in 1925, in a quiet neighborhood on Gladys Road.

For 10 years, she has become friends with neighbors and loves the diverse mix of houses and people on her street.

Those neighbors and Ray attended an open house Aug. 13, hosted by Prairie Township officials, to learn more information about proposed projects which would include updating Gladys Road.

Prairie Township is considering applying for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant, which would give the township the opportunity to renovate several roads in the next several years.

Officials have until the first week of September to apply for a grant, according to Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker. The open house was an introduction to the proposed projects for the community.

If the grant is approved, the township will move forward with proposed projects, which will not cost anything for taxpayers, according to Hatmaker.

Two projects are proposed. The Gladys Road project, which could be completed in six to eight months, according to officials, will include the widening and leveling of the road as well as installation of sidewalks and storm system work. The estimated cost for the Gladys Road project is $1.92 million and would be 100 percent funded by the grant, if approved.

Renovation of Grener Avenue will take place in two phases, and could cost about $5.03 million. That project could take until the end of 2010 and would be funded 80 percent by the grant and 20 percent by a zero-interest loan.

According to officials, phase one of South Grener Avenue is already in the design stages and construction could begin in 2009. Phase one work will include widening and leveling the road’s most southern side as well as adding sidewalks and storm system work.

The second phase is more involved. It will include the same work on the northern half of the road, just south of West Broad Street and extending around the Waffle House via an easement owned by Home Depot, as well as the installation of a modern roundabout as opposed to a traditional four-way stop.

“The roundabout is necessary to make it work, to make the alignment work,” said Hatmaker. “We aren’t doing it just because we’re buying into it. We are using it as a tool.”

The roundabout is a circular intersection designed to maximize both safety and efficiency. Europe and Australia have used similar tools in roadwork design. Entering vehicles are required to yield to those vehicles already in the roundabout, which are designed for low speeds.

Township officials have already moved forward with studies, done by Stantec Design Firm. Officials anticipate taking action on submitting the application by the deadline in the next several weeks.

Ray and neighbors Ada Varney and Karen Walker looked over project plans at the open house and asked officials questions. One of the biggest concerns on their minds was cost.

“It makes me feel a little better now,” Ray said, after hearing the project wouldn’t cost taxpayers extra.

Varney attended the open house to “find out what to expect and when to expect it.”

“There’s obviously a need for sidewalks,” said Varney, who has lived in her house since 1990. “Upgrades are necessary.”

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