In order to enhance the ability to walk around North Royalton, city officials have been working to get grants to help implement the plan. To date, three grants have been received and the three projects are in various stages of development. These grants have been awarded through the Transportation for Livable Community Initiative (TLCI), administered through the Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA).
The TLCI mission is to improve the livability in Northeast Ohio’s communities through the support of NOACA’s Regional Strategic Plan and long-range transportation plan. This is done through their assistance to communities “to develop transportation planning studies that facilitate and promote sustainable development, multimodel transportation and complete and green streets; and to provide funding assistance for communities to implement priority projects identified in TLCI or TLCI-like community developed plans,” according to the NOACA Planning and Programming Committee.
The next grant the city received was for a sidewalk that will connect Memorial Park, north to Rt. 82. That grant was received in 2017, totaling $108,000. According to Mayor Bob Stefanik, that project is expected to be poured this month.
A grant in the amount of $141,000 was received last year that will extend the multi-use path on Bennett Road. The current path runs from Rt. 82, south to South Akins Road. The grant will allow the path to be extended, south, to Valley Parkway, which will allow it to connect to the Cleveland Metroparks’ all-purpose trail. According to Community Development Director Tom Jordan, the planning of that project is wrapping up and was sent to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for review. There is some question as to whether the extension will be eight or ten feet wide. “We would like to see eight foot, which will match what is there now,” said Stefanik. “It would be less land acquisition.” Some land acquisition will need to take place. “There is Right-of-Way, but it is limited, so it will affect some of the owners,” said Jordan. He noted that ODOT does bidding in winter and spring, so he expects the bidding will take place then and be completed next year.
The third grant, in the amount of $100,000 was awarded earlier this year. This section of the sidewalk will run from Memorial Park on State Road, south, to Akins Road. A second application was also made for $205,000, which would have extended that sidewalk from Akins Road, south, to Valley Parkway. This was not awarded. According to Jordan, the city will have to reapply for funding for that. “Eventually, we would like to see it continue down to the new school.”
The cost of the first project has gone up from original estimates, however. According to Jordan, NOACA has provided for the overage of the cost, but since the other projects may also be over, how NOACA will respond is currently in question. “The Bennett Road project will move forward,” he said. “But the third project is currently up in the air.” Jordan said that they may take the funding from the third project and apply it to the first, or they may make the city reapply for funding for the third project.
If the city continues to receive the funding for these plans, those sidewalks will ultimately connect the new elementary school, the High School/Middle School, Memorial Park, the City Green, the Bennett Road trail and the Metroparks all purpose trail. Although there is no formal plan to seek additional grants at this point, Stefanik would like to see the city target the connectivity to the YMCA/Library area on State Road.
Contributing Writer