City plans sidewalks on Bechtle, bike hub downtown

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Millions in federal funds will help five Springfield transportation projects.

A new bike hub downtown and sidewalks on Bechtle Avenue’s busiest stretch of retail and restaurants are two Springfield transportation projects that will benefit from millions in federal grants.

Federal money totaling nearly $7.5 million will help fund five transportation-related projects across the city of Springfield over the next three to four years. The city will pay $2.7 million in matching funds for the work.

Projects will include new street lights, road resurfacing, sidewalk additions, and a bike hub established at the Heritage Center.

If approved at the next Springfield City Commission meeting, commissioners will tap into federal grants authorized through the Ohio Department of Transportation in conjunction with the National Transportation Act to benefit local communities.

City Manager Bryan Heck explained the Clark County Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee pursues and manages the grant funding, which is targeted to infrastructure improvements.

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Projects will include the replacement of obsolete decorative street lighting on South Fountain and South Limestone Streets, extending from the railroad tracks to Pleasant Street.

Resurfacing projects to be funded will include “shave and paves” for streets including the stretch of East Main Street from Spring Street to Greenmount Avenue; Selma Road from Spring Street to the city’s incorporation line; Bechtle Avenue, from the railroad tracks to Route 41; and Villa and Derr Roads to Middle Urbana Road.

Another planned improvement using the funding will be the addition of sidewalks on Bechtle Avenue, extending on both sides of the roadway from Hillcrest all the way to the Walmart store location.

Heck indicated the city itself will cover the cost of sidewalk additions from Hillcrest through Meijer to connect to the sidewalk on Route 41.

“That section will not be funded through the federal program, so we will pick up the cost. The goal is to create more pedestrian connectivity for that corridor,” Heck explained.

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Federal funding will also help establish a bike hub to be located at the Heritage Center parking lot, containing restrooms, kiosks and a resting location for cyclists traveling the bike trails in the community.

“This is another great opportunity to leverage additional funds,” Heck said. “These programs are typically set up as an 80% federal and 20% local match. There are some caps on some of the federal funding, so in some cases we will contribute more than 20% on given projects. But it leverages federal dollars back into our community. Those are our tax dollars, too, that go to federal and state level. Let’s leverage them back for projects in Springfield.”

The timeline for start and completion of projects extends over the next several years.

Heck noted that steps now to approve the projects going forward enable important work to begin.

“There’s a lot of design and engineering that goes into the process before we can actually begin these projects,” he said.

Street resurfacing projects are likely to begin in July of 2025 and continue through 2026. The Bechtle Avenue sidewalks project also has a 2026 timeline. Projections call for construction of the bike hub in calendar year 2027, with decorative street light upgrades anticipated in 2026-2027.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

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