By Amanda Amsel
Residents turned out at a recent Prairie Township board meeting to discuss safety issues.
One issue that was discussed was the lack of sidewalks on South Grener, near Stiles Elementary School.
Township resident Bob Voss complained about this last fall and continues to voice his concerns.
“When the snow is plowed up on both sides of the road, where are the kids supposed to walk?” he asked the board. “This has been an ongoing problem, it was in the 80s and it is the same today.”
In the fall of 2015, when Voss originally complained about this, the trustees said they had no plans to put sidewalks in that area.
“This area is a mix edition, so I’ m not sure that this would be a good place for sidewalks,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “This is a low density area so we are trying to add sidewalks to areas in the township that will be most beneficial to township residents.”
The township did add flashing lights and lowered the speed limit in the area after residents complained that cars were going too fast, however, they have stood firm on not adding sidewalks to the area.
The township paid $22,300 to add flashing school zones lights to the area and lowered the speed limit to 20 miles per hour. However, this speed limit change is only for the section of South Grener that is in front of the elementary school, the rest of the street is still 25 miles per hour.
Voss also complained about a hole in the fence near the school that is letting students cut through instead of using a foot bridge. He said students are cutting across the busy street to access the hole in the fence, putting them in danger.
Trustee Ron Ball corrected Voss saying the hole has been fixed, however Hatmaker had said earlier this year that South-Western City Schools had fixed the hole, but it reappeared a short time later and had not been fixed since then.
“Where are these kids parents?” asked Steve Kennedy, township trustee. “I can’t imagine, as a parent, letting my kids run across a busy street without supervision.”
This caused an uproar with several audience members saying that the board needed to concentrate on fixing the issue, not blaming the parents.
Voss asked why there is not a cross walk in this area, something that he believes would help protect students.
The trustees agreed to do a traffic count in the area and determine what the best course of action is.
“Something needs to be done soon because this has been an ongoing issue for far too long,” Voss said. “We are running out of time and it is only a matter a time before a kid gets hurt.”