Safer travels to school


The search is on for ways to make it safer for Stiles Elementary School students to walk and bike to school, through a study called Safe Route to Schools, which is funded in part by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

“It’s got a couple of different purposes, the main one being safety, and also getting kids out and getting them more active,” Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said.
“We’re trying to find ways for them to get to school without needing a ride all the time.”
The study will identify projects that can be done to reach those objectives. Then,
Hatmaker said, funds from the ODOT might be available for completing those projects which are identified as important.   Hatmaker said they don’t know specifically what will be done yet. 

The township wants to get the study done as soon as possible so they can get in on the funding that has been set aside by ODOT.  “We need to get in there because it’s first come, first served,” Hatmaker said. 

Under the funding agreement for the study, ODOT will provide $1,000 in funding to cover administrative costs, and $5,000 to pay the engineering firm working on the study. There will be a remaining cost of $5,000, which the Prairie Township Board of Trustees decided to cover because of the potential for a lot of project funding, Hatmaker said. 

Hatmaker estimated a time frame of two to three months before the project would be started.

Other schools in the township could benefit from this project.

“We certainly would think that this would be a pilot program that could lead to similar projects if it’s successful,” Hatmaker said.

“They thought Stiles Elementary was a likely candidate for projects, since the Norton Road area was under construction at the time and there is a lot of traffic there as well,” Hatmaker said.

There are three other elementary schools in Prairie Township: Alton Hall, Prairie Lincoln, and Prairie Norton.

Big Darby Accord revenue
Trustees also endorsed the Big Darby Accord Revenue Resolution at their Dec. 17 meeting.

Prairie Township is the first of the cooperating jurisdictions in the accord to support the revenue plan, Hatmaker said. 

Other jurisdictions are in the process of considering it and will probably act on it after the holidays, he said. 

The revenue plan was presented to the public at an open house at Westland

 High School on Dec. 2. It contains various ideas on how to raise revenue to support the accord, and how that revenue should be distributed. Most of the funding, Hatmaker said, would go to direct accord projects, while other funding would go back to local jurisdictions to handle additional incurred expenses. 

The revenue plan, he said, outlines the ideas in some detail, but it’s still at a conceptual level. The resolution adopted by the trustees endorses the concepts in the plan.  “that allows us on a staff level to go out and hammer out the details for that,” Hatmaker said.
“If you don’t have the elected officials agreeing on the broad outline, you could end up wasting a lot of time.”


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