TORONTO — Toronto Council was asked to consider establishing public transportation, at least on a trial basis.
Council heard from Mike Paprocki, executive director of the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission; who said he could apply for a federal grant to determine the feasibility of the Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority extending service to Toronto.
During council’s Monday meeting, Paprocki said the grant would be used to determine routes and the cost to run them.
“Once we know what this would cost, we could go after other resources to do a trial run,” he said, adding the trial wouldn’t require an investment from the city.
If awarded, the grant could be for up to $100,000, with the city providing a 10 percent match.
Paprocki said other funds would be sought to offer rides to Toronto residents for two to three years to determine if there’s enough interest to continue the service beyond that.
He said if there is interest, council could put a 1.5 mill levy on the ballots for Toronto voters to decide.
Paprocki noted such a levy is supported by residents of Steubenville, Mingo Junction and Wintersville, the latter having joined the SVRTA following a similar trial period.
The levy, state and federal funds and fares charged riders are used to fund the public transportation service.
The SVRTA charges 25 cents to 50 cents of riders based on age while offering a year-long pass for $30.
In addition to transporting residents from set pickup sites, the SVRTA is available to pick up people with disabilities from their homes for $1. Such residents are asked to call at least a day in advance.
SVRTA Manager Tim Turner said he and Paprocki came to council because residents of the John F. Kennedy Apartments in Steubenville expressed interest in riding the bus to visit friends in Toronto.
Councilman at large Ron Holmes said at one time local school buses transported senior citizens for Christmas shopping and some have asked him whether that could be revived.
It was suggested liability issues may prevent the school board from doing so.
Paprocki’s proposal was referred to the city’s planning commission for further discussion. A date hasn’t been set for its meeting.
In other business, council received an anonymous letter from someone claiming to represent residents of South River Avenue.
The letter’s writer raised concerns about the potential reopening of the marina on the city’s south end and traffic problems it could bring.
Council received news a few months ago that a business was interested in reopening the marina and its restaurant.
The writer noted Jeddo Road has been closed since the marina closed several years ago and said South River Avenue, its other access road, is too narrow to accommodate vehicles parked there by residents and campers and other large vehicles traveling to the site.
Council President Frank McEwen said it’s not customary for council to respond to anonymous communications and suggested residents of the street choose a representative to address council if they do have concerns.
Also on Monday, Councilman at large Steve Rebich praised Recreation Director Rod Henry and city crews for their work on the swimming pool, adding they had to address a leak and mechanical problems in the pool house but managed to open it in excellent condition.
“A lot of people are saying how good it looks,” Rebich said.
McEwen and others also expressed thanks to the various emergency departments that participated in the Safety Day event and Henry and others involved in organizing the July 3 event and applauded volunteers behind the Biasi-Shuma Memorial 5K Run-Walk also held that day.
The independent race raised $17,000 for Trinity Health System’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center, the United Way of Jefferson County and scholarships for Toronto High School graduates.
Councilman at large G.R. Dickinson also announced the city’s finance committee will meet at 6 p.m. July 26 just prior to council’s next meeting at 7 p.m. that day.
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