Beau Dusz correspondent


A public meeting held Wednesday at City Hall detailed the results of a study to determine what improvements are necessary to promote safe routes for children to walk and bike to four Wadsworth elementary schools.

The schools in the survey are Franklin, 200 Takacs Drive; Isham, 325 Sunset Boulevard; Overlook, 650 Broad Street; and Valley View, 625 Orchard Street.

Jim Brenneman, a consultant with the M-E/IBI Group and the main presenter at the public meeting, said the Ohio Safe Routes to School program by the Ohio Department of Transportation is designed to promote children walking and bicycling to school.

According to the 34-page report, the program also hopes to promote awareness and prevention to combat the serious public health issue of obesity. That report notes over 25 percent of third graders in Medina County are overweight or obese.

The members of the team that did the survey were Joseph Magnacca, Ginger DeFilippo, Lisa Inestroza, Julie Batey, Tom Tucker, Larry Jenkins, Jim Bozigar, Matthew Hiscock, Debra Miller, Kristen Hildreth and Randall Reinke.

The report notes the planning team is committed to improving our students' health and safety one step and pedal at a time.

Concerns from parents included lack of sidewalks, traffic volume and speed, sex offenders, lack of crosswalks, driver behavior, lack of crossing guards and lack of a bike rack at school.

With a series of 14 large placards, the surrounding area of each school building was displayed and the specific infrastructure improvements needed to promote safety were listed. In addition a number of non-infrastructure possibilities including Walking Wednesdays and Fitness Fridays programs were suggested.

Safety Director Matt Hiscock said  in an email that grants of up to $500,000 may be available for infrastructure improvements and $50,000 for non-infrastructure programs.

Hiscock also noted that the plan is expected to be posted on the city's website in the near future.