By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer
Several area communities have won federal grants to improve sidewalks, crosswalks and trails to make it safer for kids to walk or bike to school.
Stow and Green in Summit County and Wooster and Creston in Wayne County will receive Safe Routes to School money this year.
Wadsworth and Hudson also received grants to help prepare the extensive application for a future distribution of money.
The local grants were among $11.6 million for 90 projects around the state that the Ohio Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.
In 2005, Congress designated $612 million in federal transportation funds distributed through each state's department of transportation for the Safe Routes to School program.
ODOT has awarded more than $32 million to communities that work with their schools to
enable kindergarten through eighth-grade students to safely walk or bike to and from their neighborhood schools.
The grants pay for improved sidewalks, new walking/biking connections, bike racks and improved crosswalks. More comprehensive projects include new sidewalks, curb extensions and pavement markings.
Stow received about $284,000 to build sidewalks and improve crosswalks and trails in the neighborhoods around Fishcreek Elementary, Highland Elementary/Lakeview Intermediate, Echo Hills Elementary and Indian Trail Elementary.
Green received $55,650 to build a sidewalk connecter.
Wooster will spend almost $465,000 on sidewalks, and Creston received almost $500,000 for sidewalks and a multiuse path.