Sue Kiesewetter reports:
Liberty Township will apply for a federal grant to pay for construction and installation of a sidewalk.
But if the township is awarded the grant it is uncertain whether it would be accepted.
Trustee David Kern voted this week against applying for a transportation alternative grant that would help pay for construction of sidewalks from the Liberty Junior School crosswalk at the Yankee Road/Dutchland Boulevard intersection to Cincinnati-Dayton Road, a distance of 3,250 feet.
He joined resident Kathy Dirr in opposing the use of federal dollars for such a project in light of the national debt.
“It is absolutely immoral to take money from the federal government. What we’re doing is taking borrowed money…and putting it on the backs of our children,” Kern said. “Think of the children who will have to pay the bills. It’s shameful. It’s a disgrace.”
Trustee president Christine Matacic had a different take on the matter. She saw it as a safety issue.
“We already have people walking along Yankee Road and that area is so dangerous,’’ Matacic said. “As a township trustee one of my duties is to make sure we have safe infrastructure to get around on.”
Dirr called the sidewalks a luxury the federal government shouldn’t be paying for.
“We are flat-busted broke,” Dirr said of the federal government. “We should be prioritizing more – going for necessities rather than luxuries.”
Trustee Tom Farrell joined Matacic in voting in favor of applying for the grant but he said he wanted more time to collect data before deciding whether he would support acceptance of any grant money.
The project is expected to cost $300,000 to $500,000 with the grant paying 70 percent of the cost – if the township receives it – and the township paying 30 percent.
Officials expect to be notified whether they are getting the grant by late May or June. If they were awarded the grant, there would be a second vote to accept it.