School board to consider sidewalks

Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board directors plan to vote next week on whether or not the district should partner with East Marlborough Township to install sidewalks and traffic calming devices on Route 82.

Supervisor of Building and Grounds Rick Hostetler told board members during this week's work session that the township is asking the district to help fund the design portion of about $1 million worth of improvements "to improve the safety of everyone who crosses the street to the schools."

Both the Unionville High School and CF Patton Middle School properties front along Route 82 and that's the portion if the road considered for improvement.

A middle school student was struck and killed by a car on Route 82 in front of the school 19 years ago.

Hostetler said East Marlborough Township is also asking the Longwood Foundation for $60,000 for the project. He added that he wasn't sure if Longwood would respond before next week's meeting. If Longwood agrees, Hostetler said, the district's portion would decrease.

Superintendent John Sanville said the board should move forward and act as if it would be only the district and the township footing the bill.

Should the board vote to approve, the district would pay half of the $180,000 design portion. Grants of $900,000 would be used for the rest of the project, but all of the funding for the design must be covered before the grant application can be approved, Hostetler said.

"We're hoping we don't incur any costs until the grant is approved," he said, adding that the design costs include construction management. "This would be our all in cost."

Director John Murphy asked whether the $90,000 would come out of some other project already under consideration by the district. Hostetler deferred to Business manager Bob Cochran but said the district would know about the grant in early 2018, while work would not start until sometime in 2020.

For his part, Cochran said jokingly, "We're going to print it in the back," but then was more direct.

"We don't anticipate this bumping anything from our current 10-year plan, but rather being integrated into it," Cochran said.

Hostetler then went on to say the primary idea for the design would be to calm traffic, while the township would also work with PennDOT to get the speed limit in front of the schools lowered from the current 45 MPH.

Director Vic Dupuis, the board president, said, "I think it's tragic that we have a 45-miles-per-hour speed limit in front of our schools. This may be the only way to get that speed limit reduced."

 

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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