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Path to more parking sought at Eliza Northrop Elementary in Medina

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MEDINA — Could an extended nature trail be the answer to parking woes at Eliza Northrop Elementary School?

City and school officials think so and are working together on the project in light of parking concerns at the school, 950 East Reagan Parkway

When Eliza Northrop Elementary holds big events, parking is at a premium.

Some parents have resorted to parking in the grass, which could lead to parking tickets in the future since it’s a violation of the fire codes. The school has even had to move some events to the high school to accommodate all the cars.

Medina Superintendent Aaron Sable said at a work session Monday at the high school he wants the district to take a serious look at the lack of packing at the school.

“There is not adequate packing at the facility,” he said. “It’s something we need to address.”

Assistant Superintendent Kris Quallich has worked with city of Medina Parks Director Jansen Wehrley and might have found a solution. The plan is to extend a nature trail from the school to a parking lot at Reagan Park, which would alleviate the overcrowding.

“It’s totally for us to help with parking overflow,” Quallich said. “It would help us to connect the back of Northrop to (the city’s) parking lot.”

Sable said building the path would also give the elementary school a second evacuation point.

The path would be 410 feet long and 8 feet wide. Wehrley said it would likely be a shared-use path, which would cater to hikers and bikers. There would also be lighting installed along the path.

The one drawback is it goes through a wetland.

“We have to work around the wetland without disturbing it,” Wehrley said.

Quallich said she wasn’t sure on the path’s cost, which the school district would pay.

Wehrley said he found a state grant the two entities could apply for that would pay for some of the project. The school district would have to match 50 percent of the funds if it’s successful in getting the grant.

The city and school board would have to pass resolutions to accept the grant, if they are successful in receiving it.

In other news

  • The city and schools are teaming up to try to solve another problem involving a radio system for the district’s bus fleet.

Rob Travis, the district’s transportation manager, has been looking for an alternative for a radio system for its school bus fleet. He got an assist from Medina Police Chief Ed Kinney.

Travis needs about 70 radios for use on its buses. The regular price for the radios was $284,000, he said. If they had purchased the radios through the state of Ohio, the price dropped to $211,000.

Kinney negotiated a deal worth $146,000 through Motorola Solutions Co., of Chicago, which manufactures the radios. The school board is expected to approve the purchase at its next meeting.

Phase 2 could be to expand the radio system throughout the entire district.

“It would not just be for school buses, but it give us the ability for the entire district (to be able to) communicate with police in a safety situation,” Travis said.

He said there are about 130 other radios throughout the district that could be converted in the future.

For now, though, the bus radios need to be addressed.

“It’s a substantial savings and a wonderful partnership (with the police),” Travis said.

Kinney had similar problems before the police department switched systems, he said. Officers were experiencing dead spots where they couldn’t communicate with dispatchers.

He said they migrated to the P25 digital radio system in September for about $200,000. Medina police was able to connect to the Medina County Sheriff’s Office countywide P25 system, which has five towers throughout the county. Medina Township and Montville Township police, Life Support Team, Medina fire and Medina service department also have connected to the system, free of charge.

Medina Schools will also jump aboard.

“Motorola gave us a competitive bid,” Kinney said. “The price for all radios was 26 percent below state bid. We are getting a pretty good deal.”

He said if a bus driver is carrying a bus load of children, they should be in constant contact with dispatch or other drivers.

Kinney said the P25 radios and technology will have longevity for “many years to come.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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