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Milan's $400,000 grant to encourage walking, biking to school

• Jun 23, 2017 at 2:00 PM

MILAN — The Village of Milan recently learned that they were awarded the Safe Routes to School Infrastructure grant funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

ODOT will provide up to a maximum of $400,000 to install sidewalks on the west side of Main Street, install pedestrian signals at Main and Church streets and improve the crosswalk at Church and Park streets on the Square. The Safe Routes to School grant is designed to improve biking and walking safety to school.

“Projects were ranked based on many factors including: proximity to a bicycle or pedestrian crash, traffic speed, percentage of kindergarten through eighth grade students expected to benefit and the community’s commitment to Safe Routes to School,” ODOT said in a prepared statement to the village.

“Once ranked, final selections were determined by a committee comprised of ODOT staff, along with representatives from education, health and advocacy. Construction funds for the project are available during state fiscal year 2021.”

In the spring of 2015, Mayor Steven Rockwell and council approved to enable the committee to move forward with their ideas of improving the safety of the children and by late fall were able to have their Safe Routes to School Travel Plan approved by ODOT.

The village applied for the grant funding in the spring of 2016. However, Milan was not awarded the funding at that time.

The committee learned throughout the process that they were short on points that they could have received by hosting several safety initiatives for the children. It was realized that these safety initiatives were needed whether or not they received the funding, so they went to work and scheduled the first bike rodeo, a bicycle and pedestrian safety course and they hosted an International Walk to School Day, all at the Edison Elementary School. With the success of these safety initiatives the village and Edison Local School are committed to host these events for years to come.

This spring, the village reapplied for the SRTS funding with the same goals in mind and to their delight, through hard work and commitment to this project, were awarded the funding.

These Safe Routes to School Committee members helped make this project succeed: Carrie Whitaker of Erie County Regional Planning, Tom Roth and Dave Hermes of Edison Local Schools, councilmen Randy Glovinsky and Chris Gilliam, Robert England of Erie County Health Department, Chad Stang of Huron County Soil and Water, Milan Police CHief Chief Bob Meister, village administrator Brian Rospert and village resident Tina Ackerman.

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