For years, area residents have asked for a sidewalk to relieve the potentially dangerous choice of walking on the shoulder or in the road. The new sidewalk will make walking along the road safer and more convenient, not only for area residents but also for visitors to our community including those attending athletic events at the Timken Sports Complex.
The sidewalk, which is still under construction, will run from the intersection with US 176 to the sports complex. This will make it easier for pedestrians to move back and forth between the homes along the road, the complex and the businesses clustered around the intersection of 176.
Those businesses include two grocery stores, two drug stores, two pizza parlors, two restaurants and two motels. It’s not difficult to imagine someone staying at one of the motels deciding to walk to the sports complex and, along the way, stopping to pick up supplies to take with them to the game or, on on their way back, pausing to do some shopping and/or have a meal. The same is true for area residents who may decide to walk to the store or go out to eat.
The sidewalk will make this option much more attractive to people living or temporarily staying in the area.
In addition, the construction of the sidewalk is being paid for with a $200,000 Trails Grant the City of Union received from the state. The project is expected to cost just under $132,500 and the balance of the funds will be returned to the state where they will be available for the city to apply for to finance other such projects including possibly extending the sidewalk onto Industrial Park Road.
The sidewalk on Rice Avenue Extension is another example of how government investment in the construction, maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure can yield multiple benefits to our community.
Those investments should continue, especially if we can get them funded by the state and get them completed with money left over for still more such projects.