Girard stadium to park walkway idea will proceed

GIRARD – An idea by a Girard High School senior to provide safety for people walking from a parking area off Elruth Street to Liberty Memorial Park is being implemented by the city.

High school student Mara Avery told City Council Monday that for her senior project, she proposed creating a walkway from the east side visitor’s parking lot area by the football stadium to the ballfields at the park, which is located around a corner off Elruth Street. There is no sidewalk at that part of Elruth Street.

Avery said there is an old path in the woods, but trees and two ditches make it difficult to pass through.

Mayor Jim Melfi said the city has discussed creating a Safe Route to Liberty Park blacktopped walkway from the parking lot of the stadium to the ballfields.

”Right now, people either walk through the woods to get to the park or you walk on the road around a bend, which is very dangerous,” Melfi said.

Melfi said plans are to clear out brush and trees to make the route to baseball and soccer fields.

Council President Reynald Paolone said the walkway is needed since the school cross country teams run down the hill with cars coming around the bend and there is no direct route from the stadium to the park unless you go through the woods or on the street.

First Ward Councilman Steve Brooks said he has received calls of concern for student safety since there are no sidewalks on section of Gary Avenue which many students walk on to and from the high school.

“People are concerned someone may get hit by a car. In the winter, the students walk in the tire tracks on the street,” he said.

Brooks suggested something temporary during hours 7 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. for students to walk on.

Officials said the rest of the road has sidewalks, just not the section closest to the high school.

In other business, council will seek federal surface transportation program funds from Eastgate Regional Council of Governments for improving and paving East Liberty Street and Trumbull Avenue.

Melfi said the city will seek funds for the two projects to be done in the next two years,

The East Liberty Street project from Liberty-Girard eastern corporation line to U.S. Route 422 is estimated at $600,000 and Trumbull Avenue project from Liberty-Girard eastern corporation line to South State Street estimated at $500,000.

In other action, council:

l Heard from Councilwoman at-Large Lily Martuccio that a third mural by artist Jack Carlton is planned on West Liberty Street, where two murals of sports figures have been completed;

l Heard from Health Commissioner Frank Migliozzi that grass cutting complaints in city have decreased from near 100 earlier this summer to only four in recent weeks, with much more compliance;

l Rescheduled the next meeting to 7 p.m. Oct. 11 due to Columbus Day.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com