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Where the sidewalk begins

Andy Ouriel • Feb 9, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Huron officials have already taken many steps to make their community safer for pedestrians.

But they want to make several more strides in increasing the number of pathways for walkers in Huron.

Officials expressed confidence in starting at least two major pathway projects, totaling about $507,000, this year.

The pair of walkway upgrades piggybacks off about $905,000 in recent city investments for sidewalks, paths and other trails specifically designated for walkers. This would include pathways or trails adjacent to the former ConAgra site; on the North Main Pier; and between Huron High School and Woodlands Intermediate, running parallel to U.S. 6.

All scheduled improvements circle back to Huron’s $9 million master plan — a decade-long blueprint aimed at luring businesses while also persuading people to stay and move into Huron. The plan also calls for linking several city landmarks, parks and neighborhoods, with an emphasis on highlighting waterfront features.

Among the walkway enhancements slated to start this year:

Installing sidewalks along Ohio 13

•Where: On the corridor’s eastern portion from U.S. 6 to Thunderbird Hills Golf Club.

•When: Construction to start and end sometime this year.

•Cost: $262,000

•Funded by: City funds immediately covering this amount. Impacted property owners benefiting from improvements, however, will pay the city back over several years through property taxes. Any impacted property owner, by law, must receive a letter from the city explaining the project and cost implications to the homeowner.

•More: For this project, officials must also front an additional $150,000 in city funds to provide pedestrian access over Mudbrook Creek by Riverside Drive.

Constructing a half-mile trail around Fabens Park

•Where: Encircling the entire 30-acre facility, which is located off U.S. 6 on the opposite side of Huron High School.

•When: Construction to start this spring and finish sometime this year.

•Cost: $245,000

•Funded by: A state grant covers $150,000 with city funds fronting $95,000. “These are nice connectors that would bring the communities on the south side of the city all the way into the heart of the city into downtown” Huron city councilman Brad Hartung said.

City hoping for grant assistance

Huron officials recently applied for some assistance to design and possibly build even more sidewalks, linking up schools to popular neighborhoods where children frequently travel.

Officials asked for $100,000 in state money for an Ohio Department of Transportation approved consultant to visit Huron and determine appropriate spots for sidewalks.

In the end, Huron officials want Safe Routes to Schools money.

Safe Routes money creates or enhances pathways for children and community members to walk or bike on without having to compete for space on streets or encroach onto private property.

Government officials representing Perkins Township, Port Clinton and Vermilion have recently received these funds.

Huron’s plan could include sidewalks from neighborhoods leading to Shawnee Elementary, Woodlands Intermediate and McCormick Junior High schools.

The city can apply for up to $500,000 in infrastructure improvements during each funding cycle after all the city’s designs are submitted. Officials will likely apply within two years.

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