Residents of Maple Street, as well as other interested parties and stake-holders, took part in an open house Thursday evening to discuss a proposal from the city to extend Maple Street to U.S. 31. The plan would also provide a sidewalk connection between 31 and Home Avenue and Northside Middle School.

Jack Stocks, a project engineer with United Consulting, says that the overall purpose of the project is to improve vehicular access and pedestrian connectivity to the Northside Middle School campus. He says the large number of students coming to, and leaving, school are the main reason the project is needed.Stocks also addressed the lack of sidewalks in the area, noting that students, and all pedestrians, must walk along Maple Street and through school lawn in order to reach U.S. 31.

BCSC Superintendent Dr. John Quick expressed his support for the project. He echoed much of what Stocks had to say, adding that safety of students is the number one priority of parents and BCSC staff. Quick also added that this project would fulfill an area that was lacking in the school corporation’s “2012 Safe Routes to School Plan.”

Stock says the overall cost of the project is approximately $850,000. He noted that since the federal government is involved, it will cover 80 percent of the cost. The city of Columbus will be responsible for the balance. Stock says that the next part of the process will be the acquisition of land needed to complete the project. He says that work should begin “shortly.” Stock went on to say that the physical work should begin in April of 2017, with completion in November of that same year.