The Frontier Central School District is seeking federal money to improve access for walking and bicycling students attending the middle school and three of its elementary schools through a variety of sidewalk, crosswalk, connector path and traffic light improvements. The improvements will be supplemented with an educational component for students.
The Safe Routes to School proposal, which the Town of Hamburg is submitting on behalf of the district, seeks nearly $500,000 in federal funding for infrastructure improvements and up to another $150,000 in non-infrastructure enhancements through educational programming.
The Frontier School Board has backed the initiative, which targets improvements as a priority for Big Tree, Pinehurst and Cloverbank elementary schools and Frontier Middle School, because all of those buildings have infrastructure that hinders students’ ability to walk or bicycle to school safely.
Blasdell Elementary School is not slated for improvements because it already has a crossing guard and sidewalks on both sides of South Park Avenue. However, it will be included in the educational component.
Frontier Superintendent James C. Bodziak said if the district and town are awarded the grant, it would take four to five years to complete the project. The grant money could only be used at the elementary and middle schools, he said, but the high school would benefit because Big Tree Elementary is actually on the high school’s campus.
If Hamburg is successful in securing the grant, the town would front the cost, manage the grant and be reimbursed fully by the state Department of Transportation, which administers the federally funded program.
<INLINENOTE>Mark Melewski, a Town of Hamburg consultant who prepared the grant application, said it could take six months to receive approval and another one to two years for funding to come through.
“It’s a very competitive program, so we’re hoping for the best,” Melewski said.</INLINENOTE>Highlights of the proposed work at each school include:
• Pinehurst: Installing sidewalks on Fairway Court from Pinehurst to Lakecrest Drive, and across Fairway Court to connect Pinehurst Court.
• Cloverbank: Improving a crosswalk to Stewart Parkway and installing a sidewalk from the school to Orchard Avenue.
• Big Tree: Installing a sidewalk from Big Tree to Riley Road and a sidewalk from Big Tree to BayView Road. Installing a traffic light and crosswalk at the east driveway across BayView Road. Installing a sidewalk to connect Big Tree to the adjacent Marietta Road/Sheva Lane neighborhood.
• Middle School: Installing a crosswalk across Amsdell Road to the Briercliff neighborhood. Installing a paved path to connect the school to Stillwell Road; an easement may be required.
The plans also include implementing a safe route education program for elementary and middle school students, as well as enforcement with the Hamburg town police.