ORANGE — Village Council unanimously voted to move forward with a trail for Orangewood Drive a week after a lengthy public remote discussion on the proposal.

Council’s Feb. 10 vote clears the way for the preparation of plans and advertisement of bids for a recreational trail.

The trail, proposed for the south and east sides of Orangewood Drive, would be 5 feet from the curb and 5-feet wide. This trail would be built with the remaining $410,117 from the $5 million assessment on the Pinecrest shopping center that covered the cost of the other recreational trails on main streets in the village.

Although Orangewood Drive is part of a residential subdivision, some consider it a thoroughfare because it connects Harvard and Lander roads. More than 20 residents commented on the trail at a recent webinar, with most in favor due to safety concerns for pedestrians.

“I grew up in Orangewood so maybe I’m a little bit biased here, but I think it’s something that has been needed for years,” Council President Brandon Duber said “Orangewood when I first grew up was half the size it is now and only had one entrance-exit.”

Councilman Alan Charnas said the trail is a “once in a lifetime chance” since the village can cover the expense with the assessment from Pinecrest.

Councilwoman Staci Vincent said that she carefully read all of the correspondence that she received from residents about the trail. She said that she grew up in Pepper Pike on a street without sidewalks and witnessed an accident where a teenager on a bicycle was injured after being struck by a car. Mrs. Vincent said that 21 years ago she chose her home in Orange Hill, where there are sidewalks.

“Some neighbors mentioned they hadn’t experienced a single accident in the decades they have lived there. I am thrilled about that,” she said. “But I don’t want to wait around to see that statistic change and then wish we had done something to prevent that when the opportunity presented itself, as it has now.”

Councilman Jud Kline lives on Orangewood and his property would be affected by the trail. He also plans to build a house at the Lakes of Orange, a new development on Brainard Road. Mr. Kline said that he supports the trail, especially since there is an increased amount of traffic on the street with more Amazon and Doordash deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the village administration will work with residents to avoid disturbing their landscaping.

“I know that the village will work hard with homeowners who have the trail in their front yard to work it around appurtenances and landscaping that ought not to be disturbed if possible, and when it is, it’s a small price to pay for something that could be beneficial to all concerned,” Mr. Kline said.

In other news, council members approved the concrete restroom structure from CXT, Inc. for a price not to exceed $80,000. The restroom will be located near the playground at the Orange Village Park on Lander Road.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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