Group eyes grant funding

North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments met to update the Safe Routes to School Program Wednesday.

The program is two parts. First the council would apply for School Travel Plan funding, which would involve a study through the Ohio Department of Transportation to determine what projects are best for the community to pursue.

Part two would be application for a $550,000 grant through the Safe Routes to School program.

Safe Routes to School is a federally funded program through an 80-20 grant in which 80 percent is funded by the federal government and 20 percent by ODOT.

The grant would include $50,000 for non-infrastructure projects such as teaching children the proper way to walk and bike to school safely and supplying safety vests to parent and teacher volunteers. It would include promotional techniques such as walk and bike to school days, John Davoli, NCORcog director, said.

The remainder of the grant – $500,000 – would pay for infrastructure projects such as sidewalks or new signals at intersections.

During the meeting, Davoli discussed the School Travel Plan application. An agreement letter went out to Tiffin, Seneca County General Health District, Tiffin Police Department, Tiffin City Schools and Calvert Catholic Schools seeking a participation agreement and making NCORcog the main applicant and program manager. Once resolutions have been passed from the individual parties, the School Travel Plan application can be submitted, Davoli said.

“Its great to see the collaboration. It is what the NCORcog is all about, with coordinating with all the different entities,” Davoli said.The application is to be submitted by March 1, with applicants notified May 1.

“Parent surveys and teacher tallies were sent out in the fall,” Davoli said. The surveys and tallies were sent to Washington D.C. and included the opinions of parents and teachers about the journey to and from school.

The schools participating are Washington K-1, Krout 2-3, Noble 4-5 and Calvert Elementary Schools.

Davoli also mentioned that radius maps were being done to determine how far children live from the schools they attend, up to a 2-mile radius.

In addition to the students safety, Davoli expressed the health aspects of walking and riding a bike to and from school.

“A bike to school and work day is to be set for May 8 whether the funding is received or not,” Davoli said.

The next meeting is tentatively set for the first week in March.