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Students who attend Grand Island Middle School and High School should soon have a safer walk to class.

District officials agreed Monday to spend $1,250 to create an access way for students who live in the Bishops Gate development and go to the school building on Ransom Road.

In October, several parents and students said it was dangerous to walk around a fence that ends at Ransom Road and to cross the entry of the student parking lot on dark winter mornings.

Some School Board members disputed the safety issue in October and continued Monday to question the danger posed to students without the project.

"It's still safe to have a paper route, ride your bike, jog or walk to school," said School Board member Michael Dallessandro, adding that he supports the project on the basis of "being a good neighbor" as opposed to safety concerns.

The Town Board set aside $6,000 earlier in the year to construct a sidewalk from the roadway of Bishops Gate to the parking lot. In exchange for financing the walkway, town officials asked the school to maintain it.

School officials balked at the idea, saying that with the responsibility of maintaining the walkway comes financial liability.

Monday, school officials agreed to create a 3-foot gateway in the fence and to lay asphalt from the fence to the student parking lot. The asphalt would be about 8 feet in length and width.

Some who attended Monday's board meeting hoping for progress on the issue were pleased with the board's decision.

"We have a gate opening, and that's our main concern," said Donna Tomkins, a resident of Bishops Gate. "It's safer for the kids to have this opening than to have them walking into the street and in front of cars coming into the parking lot."

Now it's up to the town to decide whether to add a sidewalk on the development's side of the fence, which would also mean maintaining it.

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