By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI
As installation of the new sidewalk along state Route 170 in the township nears completion, pedestrians might notice an oddity in the path.
The path now stretches from the beginning of the township, past Nesbitt Street, to Dobbins Elementary School, 3030 Dobbins Road, but two properties near Nesbitt do not have a completed section of sidewalk.
The incomplete section is on private property, with one property without any sidewalk and another property that has an old section in disrepair. It is under the jurisdiction of
Poland Village, but both township and village officials would like to see the section fixed so that there is a continuous stretch of sidewalk from the village to the township.
“It was supposed to be one solid thing, so why they left those two houses, I don’t know,” said village Mayor Tim Sicafuse. “It should have been done, and it was included in the original plan. And we need to figure out why it’s not there now and how we can fix it.”
Whether this section was included in the original plan, however, is unclear.
“Either the contract was from Nesbitt to Dobbins, or from the end of the village to Dobbins. So they’ve got to find out which is which,” said village council President Joe Mazur.
One issue with connecting the two paths is that sidewalks are the responsibility of property owners rather than the administration in the village. Township Trustee Eric Ungaro said this might be problematic because of a law prohibiting the use of public funds for projects on private property.
The township received $500,000 from a grant program called Safe Routes to Schools to install the sidewalk, and construction started earlier this summer. The sidewalk is now complete, and a few additional touches are slated to be complete within a few weeks.
The question of whether the original plan was to extend the sidewalk up to Nesbitt would determine whether the grant would cover the cost of completing this section, a cost that Sicafuse said would be from $1,500 to $2,000.
If the grant does not cover the cost, it would either be left to the property owners or to funds from the village and township. Ungaro and Sicafuse expressed willingness to split the cost of finishing the section, while Mazur said, “We don’t want to be splitting anything if we don’t have to.”
“We’re willing to split the cost. But the village would have to handle it, because it’s in the village. So they would have to hire someone and send us a bill, and we would split it,” Ungaro said.
If the village does end up repairing the path, Ungaro said it would have to be designed on the right of way and not on the sidewalk that is already there.
He said the next step would be for the village to consult with MS Consultants, the engineering firm that handled project, to determine what the original plan dictated.
“The bottom line is, it’s going to be resolved with a joint effort. It’s not like there’s any animosity or anything,” Ungaro said.