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Central Point project will add to safety near new park

CENTRAL POINT — The first phase of a $400,000 pedestrian crossing could begin soon as the city works to improve safety for walkers headed to a new park.

The crossing is intended to provide improved pedestrian safety at the entrance to Don Jones Memorial Park at the intersection of Hamrick, Vilas and New Haven roads. The engineering and design portion of the project were recently awarded in a $28,000 contract to Public Works Management of Central Point.

Expected to be completed by May, the crossing will include lights, curbs and traffic calming measures. It is funded through a more than $400,000 state bike and pedestrian safety grant.

Parks department manager Matt Samitore said the grant should cover "the majority, if not all" of the project's cost.

Samitore said the need for a pedestrian crossing was immediately obvious after the park and water spray feature opened this year.

Public Works Management owner Joe Strahl said the crossing was a logical upgrade for the busy road.

"This is going to provide a much safer access for those folks but also is going to help to slow vehicular traffic coming through there," Strahl said.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.