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Access road taking shape

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:47 PM

Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch can't help but get a little satisfaction from the construction of the Cline Street extension project.

"It makes me smile," she said Thursday. "Just the whole experience of it. There were many good, positive things."

Lesch said the target completion date is July, adding that curb-and-gutter work and paving still has to be done.

Lesch said Steve Payne, owner of the north-side McDonald's, got the ball rolling with the project.

"I asked him about the access road and he said yes, let's get it started," the mayor said.

The mayor also credited Joe Hammerschmidt, owner of the Norwalk Korners Plaza, as being instrumental with the extension project.

"This whole thing was quite a learning experience for me," she said. "I lost a lot of sleep and there were times when I wondered if it would ever be done."

Lesch said she collected input from residents and worked closely with Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials.

"It was quite a process," she said.

The project was originally to be funded through a federal grant, Lesch said. "But after the challenge with Aldi, we agreed to give up the grant in order to make a sharper curve so Aldi could retain more parking. And $50,00 was paid for an easement through the parking lot at Aldi and we agreed to stripe the lot for them."

Now, the project is being paid from the city's permissive tax and capital improvement fund.

"The goal of the road is safety," Lesch said. "We've been working with ODOT for years, long before I was here, about the area between League and Republic streets being the worst traffic problem for accidents in the city."

When Lesch campaigned in 2003, she said the access road was a priority.

She said where the access road connects with Westwind Drive will change.

"For better sight lines," she said.

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