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'Safety Village' sought in Glenville

Innovative program to provide hands-on learning for children

Children might soon have their own mock village and house to learn safety lessons without getting in harm's way.

The Safety Village Project, which includes a scaled-down village with buildings and streets, is intended to provide a realistic learning experience for safety issues. The facility would be located off Vley Road, in Glenville, near the intersection of Route 5, on a currently unused piece of land. The town would still own the 3-acre site, but the organization is looking for a long-term lease. The cost of the project is expected to be below $1.25 million, which was the estimate in 1999, due to construction costs going down.

It is primarily designed for children's education related to bicycle and pedestrian safety, said Project Coordinator Patrick Carroll. "Inside the educational facility is a house with a bedroom and kitchen area for the purpose of a fire safety component."

The lessons would combine classroom instruction with hands-on learning to increase retention. The Safety Village will be set off to the side of the classroom building and feature paved streets, traffic signals, streets signs, bus stops, railroad crossing and other elements found in a real-world setting.

Organizers expect the number of visitors annually to be about 20,000 in the beginning years. The facility would start out serving third- and fourth-graders from local school districts and would eventually expand to grades 1 to 5. Another possible future program could teach adults safety awareness courses, along with first aid and CPR.

Glenville officials appeared to support the project during a Town Board work session meeting on Wednesday, June 8.

"I, for one, am very in favor of the program. It is a great program that is a great use for the space," said Glenville Supervisor Christopher Koetzle.

To reproduce traffic and fire safety issues at a school can be difficult, but the site would allow Capital District school schools to visit the location.

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