NAPOLEON — Plans to add parking, sidewalks and crosswalks near district schools were presented to the Napoleon Area Board of Education Wednesday evening by district business manager Cory Niekamp.

In addition, the board approved modifying school bus routes, and heard and update about COVID-19 vaccinations for staff (see related story, page A1).

The board has been discussing parking, sidewalk and crosswalk improvement for months, which would take place in phases. In November, the board approved a resolution for professional services from Mannik and Smith Group (MSG) of Maumee, that include design work for parking improvements at Napoleon Elementary and Buckenmeyer Stadium in the amount of $45,800.

On Wednesday, Niekamp shared the scope of the proposed work for phase I of the improvements.

“Our plan is to add two rows of parking at Napoleon Elementary where the hill is currently, which will be 60 spaces, and to add a set of sidewalks that will lead from there, across Westmoreland Avenue to the softball/baseball area,” said Niekamp. “That’s the only parking lot expansion (in this phase), and then we will pave the Buckenmeyer Stadium lot, which is now a stone lot.

“The other big piece is we will be adding a sidewalk along Westmoreland, from Bales Road to Clairmont Avenue the entire way,” continued Niekamp. “We’ve budgeted $700,000 to focus on this area, but we still don’t have the bid package yet with estimates, but we’re shooting for somewhere around $600,000.”

Niekamp explained that when he presented information last fall about possible parking lot expansion, adding sidewalks and crosswalks to the building, it was broken down into six phases. Right now the focus is on the scope of work he presented Wednesday, but that a long-term vision was taken when putting together the plan for phase I.

In addition, he shared the district is looking into grant money for other phases of the proposed projects. He explained he met with city officials on Wednesday, and the two groups are finalizing an agreement to put barriers up along the east side of Westmoreland Avenue to block parking along there for spring sports events.

A timeline for phase I would be to go to bid March 1-15, to get bids back on March 15, and to bring that information to the board in March. If approved, work would start June 1 and be completed by Aug. 1.

“Some of the projects we’re not pursuing right now are the ‘Buck’ lot expansion, putting a path between Briarheath Avenue and the ‘Buck’ lot and extending a sidewalk on the north side of Bales Road between Westmoreland Avenue and Briarheath Avenue,” said Niekamp. “Those would be considered for the next phase. We’re also applying for a Safe Routes to School Grant, where possibly some of those projects could be funded.

“We spent a lot of time working on those drawings making sure we have the sidewalks and the crosswalks for phase I where we want them,” added Niekamp. “We do have a proposed expansion of the ‘Buck’ lot in the future, so if we do an expansion, the crosswalk is lined up with the perimeter of that lot. With the current layout for the ‘Buck’ lot, new asphalt will line up for future expansion so we don’t have to reconfigure the entire parking lot.”

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