NORTH ROYALTON – Now that the sidewalk connecting the Memorial Park complex to the town center is completed, the city has its sights on connecting Memorial Park to the Cleveland Metroparks all-purpose trail and the future North Royalton Elementary School.

The sidewalk project connecting Memorial Park to state Route 82 along State Road was completed last month and funded by grant dollars through the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency’s Transportation for Livable Community Initiative. The TLCI provides federal funds for projects that increase transportation options and promote livability.

Community Development Director Tom Jordan is now applying for additional dollars through this same funding source. If awarded in full, it would connect Memorial Park on State Road to Akins Road and then continue on to the all-purpose trail at Valley Parkway. The city is applying in two parts: Memorial Park to Akins and Akins to the Parkway.

“It’s our main recreational facility, Memorial Park, and we’re trying to connect as many residents as possible and this connects them to the most used recreational facility, the all-purpose trail and our central business network. We really do hope more visitors to the Metroparks will also visit North Royalton. This pathway would connect them to our central business district,” Jordan said.

If awarded, this would also connect the entire school system, ultimately providing a large square of connectivity between the new elementary school on State Road at the Valley Parkway, the middle and high school on Ridge Road and state Route 82 to the north, a welcomed project by the school district.

“We support this endeavor as it would allow the community easy access to our facilities and the park,” Superintendent Greg Gurka said.

Last year, the city was also awarded $141,000 in TLCI funding to extend the multi-use asphalt path on Bennett Road, which currently ends at South Akins Road, to the Valley Parkway, fully connecting state Route 82 to the Metroparks’ all-purpose trail. This project is still in the design phase.

Mayor Bob Stefanik, a NOACA board member, said providing as much connectivity as possible without using tax dollars is the ultimate goal and each grant award is a step in that direction.

“Our mission has always been to continuously seek outside funding for major road repairs, infrastructure improvements and connectivity to our parks and town center and beyond,” he said. “My hope is that the next administration will keep this as a priority moving forward.”