York Mayor Barry Redfern: Building a Thriving Community Together

York Mayor Barry Redfern: Building a Thriving Community Together
April 1st, 2024 | An Editorial by York NE's Mayor Barry Redfern

In July 2022 after York received the Project Access York $15.6 million grant, I said in a York News Times article, “Extending our trail systems has been on the city wish list for many years. I can’t wait to see the great things we can do for York with this opportunity.” Today, knowing that this grant means miles of new trails, safety improvements for school crossings, and a pedestrian crossing close to the interstate, I am even more excited.

York received this grant because many organizations, businesses, and public sector representatives in York have worked together, and continue to work together, to improve safety and access in our community. Expanding our trails and a safe pedestrian crossing have been part of the last two City of York Comprehensive Plans. Making the crossings around our schools safer has long been a priority. Likewise, bringing all of York together as one community and encouraging visitors to shop and eat in all parts of York have long been priorities. This grant allows all of this to happen.

I realize that change can be difficult. We know that people are making plans for many potential new projects that may be coming to the interstate area, including more hotels, professional services, retail, food and even housing. Completing Highway 81 with 4 lanes from Columbus to York will be a big economic boost but will make the area even busier. The city is working to plan future infrastructure in the area to handle this growth and to make traffic flow in the area safer. Right now, almost 700 people work north of the interstate in this area. Businesses have told us that many of these employees walk or bike to work every day. Project Access gets them off the busy road with safe access to job and home.

Our proximity to the interstate can bring unsavory realities to our community. However, this proximity is also a key to our economic success and allows us to complete great projects across the city. In 2024, there are valid safety risks and concerns everywhere. I encourage all parents and adults to practice good judgement and safety measures.

Many small towns and rural areas have safely established trails in and around their communities. As your Mayor, I am focused on investing Project Access York resources into our community to promote safety, walkability, and community connection.

I am so excited about York’s future. I am amazed when I see how much York continues to thrive. Together we can do great things!


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