By DAVID GREEEN
Fayette has nearly 2.8 miles of good sidewalk in the village and an additional 10 miles of either substandard walk or no walk at all.
That’s what a recent survey of village streets determined, pointing out that more than 75 percent of the town is without usable sidewalks.
“The community has voiced a lot of concern about sidewalks,” village administrator Amy Metz said at the July 28 council meeting.
People have volunteered to provide labor to build sidewalks, she added.
In addition to some free labor, the village might also get some financial assistance through a pair of grant programs.
Audra Roesti, a cardiovascular health educator with the Fulton County Health Department, told council members about a grant program through the Healthy Ohio organization that could bring in up to $75,000, including a 10 percent match from the village. The village contribution could include labor.
The funds originate with the Ohio Department of Health and the grant request must be filed through the county health department.
Roesti suggested the village apply through a “targeted environmental change to enhance physical activity.” In this case, good sidewalks would encourage more physical activity for town residents.
Roesti presented information about the physical state of Ohio residents—35 percent overweight, 28 percent obese—and pointed out that the lack of physical activity is a contributing factor. This often leads to cardiovascular health issues.
Roesti would like to include her grant request with an application to the Safe Routes to School program that could bring in funds for sidewalk repair and installation.
Metz told councilors that a cost estimate to install and repair walks throughout the village was pegged at $588,000, based on an estimated cost of $11 a running foot for a four-foot wide walk. A contingency fee of $58,800 would cover other costs, such as removing trees and adding an aggregate base, where necessary.
The estimate also doesn’t include the removal of old walks that need replacement.
Council member Ruth Marlatt asked if the Healthy Ohio grant is renewable, since it would fund only a small portion of the work needed.
There are no guarantees, Roesti said, but her intent would be to make it renewable.
Community support for the project would increase Fayette’s chances of obtaining a grant, she said. For example, churches might pledge support to be responsible for the walks along their property, and service groups could make a financial pledge.
Council members gave Roesti permission to apply for the grant and also approved a recommendation from the Public Safety committee to create an ordinance for a sidewalk enhancement fee.
A fee of $2.50 a quarter would bring in about $5,000 a year, said committee member Jerry Gonzales, to be placed into a fund to cover the village’s 10 percent contribution to the grant program. Gonzales wants the fee contingent on receiving the grant.
The fund would allow the sidewalk project to continue year after year, said councilor Paul Shaffer.
In other sidewalk news, the village repaired walks that were damaged from waterline repair.
SEWER REPAIR—Councilors voted 4-2 to approve the repair of a sewer line on Eagle Street that washed out during a heavy rain in early July.
Council accepted a bid from Armstrong Excavating for the repair work, not to exceed $6,000, and for the purchase of aggregate materials from Custar Stone, not to exceed $6,200.
Armstrong’s bid was the lower of two received, but Craig Rower and Paul Shaffer voted against the measure.
Rower explained later that he would have preferred that three bids were taken instead of two. Shaffer said he was opposed to the motion because the work was already completed by the time council voted on the issue. He also would have preferred three bids.