By STEVEN HALL
Students at Spanish Fork’s new Canyon Elementary School will soon have a new route to school thanks to a deal struck between land developers and city planners.
Since construction on the school began more than a year ago, both citizens and city planners have been concerned about the distance children would have to travel to the new school–some as far as 15 blocks.
The new stretch of road, which connects 1240 South between 1150 East and 1400 East, will reduce that distance drastically.
Spanish Fork City Manager Dave Oyler said the improvement is greatly needed.
“There are about 300 students who will be affected by the new road,” he said. “It will save some of them 10-15 blocks of travel.”
According to Oyler, Spanish Fork City has agreed to front the cost of the new road, which is usually required from a developer before construction is approved. The city will then collect the debt from the developer at the time the area is approved for subdividing — which may not happen for a year due to a lawsuit over zoning regulation.
Randall Howard, part owner of the real estate and resident of Spanish Fork, said that although he agrees the improvement will help elementary school students, he is not a hero for helping.
“This was something that was going to happen sooner or later,” he said. “We just worked with the city to make it happen now.”
“We talked about a lot of options ranging from gravel to pavement,” Howard said. “It’s been just in the last month that we came up with something definite.”
Spanish Fork resident Jenni Olson said the new road will be a greater convenience for more people than just parents who currently drive their children to school.
“I think (the road) is great because it is (difficult) for parents to carpool,” Olson said. “It will also take less time to reach the city over on the (east) side. Sure traffic will increase, but not too bad — the convenience will make up for it.”
Oyler estimates the cost of building the road to be between $115,000 and $125,000.
He said that although this is a lot of money for the city to be fronting for a bill that may not be collected for a year, the new road is the perfect position for everyone.
“It’s basically a win/win situation,” Oyler said. “It’s a win situation for the citizens because they’ll have an improved road that’ll be a lot safer for the kids to get to school. It’s a win for the developer because he’ll have his improvements in with the city fronting the costs.”
Now only in its beginning stages, the road is scheduled to be completed within three to four weeks, Oyler said.