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WJBD - Local News - Proposed Sidewalk On Hawthorn and Airport Road in Salem Draws Local Support

Location of proposed new sidewalk on West Boone and Airport Road.

Proposed Sidewalk On Hawthorn and Airport Road in Salem Draws Local Support

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Salem City Council has approved a resolution supporting a state grant that would pay for 80-percent of the cost of sidewalks along West Boone from Hawthorn to Airport Road and along Airport Road to Mills Cart.  Several residents in the area supported the need for the sidewalks on Airport Road during the public hearing.  Among them was Marvin Owens.

"This is for the safety of the road. There are drivers on the road at all hours of the night. And there are people walking on the road all hours of the day and night." Owens said, "You can't see them."

Others noted when a vehicle approached there was no place to go since there were deep ditches on both sides of Airport Road.  A few said they have had to take the ditch to avoid being hit.  

Public Works Director John Pruden says there was not a way to cover the ditches because of the amount of water they handle and the sidewalk grant at this point is a long shot.

"I wish I could tell you we were locked into the grant. That would be false optimism. We are competing with over 300 projects in the State of Illinois, and 70% of the money went to Chicago last time." Pruden said, "We're up against some tough competition."

Pruden says the proposed sidewalk along Airport Road was extended to Mills Cart Road so it could walkers and bicyclists to travel between the Apostolic School and Hawthorn and Franklin Park schools.   

The total cost of the project is estimated at $476,000, with the city's share $147,000.   The city's share would come from the half-cent sales tax for public works projects.  

City Manager Bill Gruen says there is money currently available.  If that would change, Gruen says there is nothing that says the city to accept the grant if it is offered.  

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