Trustees disagree over road project

Some local officials are concerned that the road poses a safety hazard.
CANFIELD -- Township trustees here most likely will have to go back to Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to decide the fate of the Gibson Road improvement project.
Trustee Judy Bayus said she thinks "further court action" will be needed before the project moves forward. Trustees William Reese and Paul Moracco voted Monday to repave and widen the road to 20 feet. Bayus voted against the project.
Reese said he hopes work on the $400,000 project can start before the end of the summer. Bayus, however, said she plans to talk to her private attorney, Frank Bodor of Warren, about going to court over the project.
Bayus contends that a case pending in the 7th District Court of Appeals prevents Moracco and Reese from spending township money on the improvements. The case appeals a decision by visiting Judge Mary Cacioppo, who ruled in county common pleas court in October that a proposal to install a waterline along the road violated the state constitution.
The waterline project also called for the road to be repaved and widened to 20 feet. A waterline was later installed along the road by a private developer.
One trustee's view
Bayus said she feels that as long as the appeal is pending, the trustees can't spend the money on the project. She also has said that she feels the county should pay for the work; the plan to improve the road is flawed; and that the majority of Gibson Road residents don't support the project.
Reese, Moracco and some other local officials have said that the improvements are needed to improve driver safety on the road. The road, which is off state Route 46 just north of Canfield, is between 10 and 12 feet wide and marked in places by potholes and asphalt patches.
About $170,000 for the project would come from the township. The rest would of the work would be funded using a state Issue II grant.
An attorney for the fire district has stated that the township is liable for any injuries caused by the road's poor condition. Canfield school officials also have expressed concerns about the safety of children riding buses on the road.
Reese also noted that the trustees have received two petitions from local residents seeking the improvements.

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