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Council Throws Its Support Toward Skinner Road "Safe Routes" Initiative

A grant could fund the program to the tune of more than $400,000.

The Town Council on Tuesday endorsed a movement to get a major infrastructure grant for the area around Skinner Road School.

The official move was to present and approve a resolution supporting the initiative presented by the school's "safe routes" committee.

In a memo to the municipal administration, Town Engineer Terry McCarthy said the school is eligible for a state-administered grant of "approximately $491,000," to be used for improvements on and around the Skinner Road School property.

He said the improvements would likely include:

• A raised crosswalk at the front driveway.

• A stone dust trail around the rear of the school property and connecting to Skinner Rd.

• Improvements to the pedestrian bridge at Dart Hill Road
Replacement of the bike racks.

• Installation of a new sidewalk along the west side of Skinner Road from Dart Hill Road to Emerald Drive.

• "No Parking" signs near the school's driveways and Radar signs displaying the speed of passing vehicles.

"It is the Town of Vernon's and the state's policy to keep persons informed and involved when such projects are undertaken," McCarthy said. "It is important that the community share its concerns with us to assist in the project's development."

McCarthy said Anyone interested in obtaining further information, or provide input, may do so by calling him at 860-870-3663.

More than 100 students walk to Skinner Road daily. Superintendent of Schools Mary Conway said improvements near the driveway to the school are needed.

Town Council member Bill Campbell voted against the endorsement because three were no safety-related statistics presented to justify such a massive project paid for with public funds. He was the only dissenter.

Officially, the initiative is being called the Safe Routes to School infrastructure Program.

McCarthy said the grant would pay for everything but design.

meowkats4 October 03, 2012 at 01:50 PM
What DOES a Stone dust "TRAIL" around the rear of the school have to do with SAFETY?? Using STATE FUNDS "TAX DOLLARS" which Connecticut can't afford because Mr. Tax and Spend Malloy is spending our money daily, we don't need to see more of our TAX DOLLARS BY OUR TOWNS help him put us more in debt or raise our taxes anymore! Let's use money wisely in this TOWN!!
carl slicer October 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM
How about the Town of Vernon just deduct $491K from the taxes being paid to the State of Conn & cut out this addiction to grants. This is like heroin except you have to prove you are worthy to get your own money back. Does anyone see the Irony in this process? Carl Slicer-
Jon M October 03, 2012 at 02:14 PM
So if I am understanding this correctly, Skinner Road will have sidewalks on both sides of the street. How is this possibly necessary? A student will still have to cross Skinner Road at some point to get to the school.
VernonParent October 03, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Walking to and from school does not happen in the rear of the school. Someone stated that 100 kids walk to school each day, well I have been a resident of Skinner Rd for the past 20 years and trust me you do get a large number of kids walking each day but it is clearly no where near 100 unless we are counting all the parents that walk their kids to school. Not sure the grant money is being put to the right use here.....
VernonParent October 03, 2012 at 04:41 PM
As far as the sidewalks go, that has been axed due to the large number of complaints from the residents that live on that side of the road. Complaints ranged from the moving of all the telephone poles, to losing front property.... trees, bushes, walls etc......
Nancy Krupienski October 03, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Could this money be split up a little? The parking situation at Center Road School is inadequate; Trout Stream Drive is used as a secondary parking lot/pickup area after school is dismissed. Walkers who need to cross the street to get to their neighborhood are met with traffic on both sides of the street, no sidewalks, and a pile of cars trying to exit all at once. Perhaps they could study what safety problems are most significant at all the schools and then use that as a guideline for how to spend the grant money.
Vernon Taxpayer October 04, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I agree with you Nancy. To spend $491,000 on one school when many of the other schools need some updates as well. The extra sidewalks seem like a waste when then existing sidewalks need some updates. The Dart Hill Bridge does need work. I am not sure what the stone dust path behind the school is all about. Is there a way to share this money with other schools? I know the Skinner Road parents went after the grant and did a wonderful job obtaining it. I just wonder if it could not be shared with the other schools in town.
Karli S February 28, 2013 at 02:01 PM
I agree, but I can tell you that I am classified as a "walker" because I drive my child from across town instead of let her take the bus. All the parents who drop off are considered walkers. They used to let us drop off in the rear of the school away from trhe bus line, which was great but since the new principal started we just block a different fire lane now in the side of the school. The problem is that they dont have a good system for parent drivers not walkers and it would be a shame if they were twisting their wording to get funding that could go elsewhere.
Karli S February 28, 2013 at 02:08 PM
I'm a skinner road parent and the school classifies you as a walker even if you drive your kid. There pick up and drop off system is horrible since they closed the back of the school. Instead of having a line of cars drivethrough style in back they have all the fire lanes in the front blocked with parked cars. We dont need sidewalks, we need a parking lot, I agree this money should be split up with the other schools.

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