The City Council on Friday voted to appropriate up to $20,000 toward construction of a pedestrian overpass at Silver Hills Elementary School.
Mayor Brent F. Anderson said the city is allocating the money even though few of the students at Silver Hills live in West Valley City. Most live on the east side of 56th West, in Kearns."It wouldn't be right to ignore this important problem," he said.
Silver Hills, 5770 W. 51st South, is on the west side of 56th West, in the Hercules buffer zone, which has been annexed by West Valley City. When the district made plans to build the school, it believed houses would be built on land surrounding the school. Hercules, however, received a moratorium on any construction in the area, and students from the Kearns homes must cross the busy highway to attend school.
Parents and residents are mounting a campaign to have an overpass built for the safety of their children. Two weeks ago, a 12-year-old was hit by a car in front of the school and her hip was broken. Residents say other similar accidents and close calls have occurred in the past. Most believe the overpass is the only realistic solution to the problem.
During a town meeting Wednesday night, representatives of the Utah Department of Transportation told residents of a UDOT policy that allows pedestrian overpasses to be built only when half of the funds are raised by the community.
Since that meeting, Silver Hills PTA President-elect Valerie Stanley said she and other residents have met with additional Granite School Board members, Salt Lake County representatives, West Valley officials, Hercules representatives and local businesses to try and raise half of the funds for the project, which she hopes UDOT will match.
Stanley said she is very pleased with West Valley City's willingness to help finance the overpass. "I'm excited because they don't really have to take that responsibility," she said.
"I think it's fantastic that they're willing to help. We're excited, but we're still not finished," Stanley said.
The Granite Board of Education is expected to address the issue Tuesday, but Stanley said she is wary of what the district may be willing to contribute. "Our community is really pulling together to help, but without the district's help, we won't be able to put the funds together."
Stanley said her organization is asking the school district to donate approximately $25,000, or 25 percent of the needed funds.
Since Wednesday's town meeting, Stanley said action toward the overpass has snowballed. If everything continues to fall into place, she expects the overpass will be constructed by Nov. 1.