The Newburgh Town Council agreed to initiate changes in order to improve sledding safety.

In their latest regular meeting, the council instructed attorney Chris Wischer to prepare an ordinance to be heard in their next meeting to lower the speed limit to 20 miles an hour on French Island Trail in the area of the Old Lock and Dam Park in Newburgh.

The move comes after a fatal sledding incident in January resulted in the death of Newburgh teenager Davis Collier.

The decision comes at the recommendation of a sledding committee established by the council after the incident.

Town Manager Christy Powell said the committee had a positive initial meeting with plenty of ideas circulating about ways to promote safety in the area.

She said the committee is planning to work with the town to increase signage in the area to further indicate the park, and it will be planting bushes along the edge of the road at the bottom of the hill in the spring to increase safety for the park for future sledders.

Council President Leanna Hughes said committee members were perplexed that the speed limit hadn't already been lowered as the area is a park.

There are many activities that would see an improved level of safety if the town chooses to lower the speed limit in the area, she said.

"One of the things that came out of this is, 'Why don't we have a slower speed limit in the park anyway,' " she said. "I think we should have it. All kinds of things happen down there that should be addressed with a lower speed limit."

The council voted in approval to move forward 3-0 as both council members Tonya McGuire and Bill Kavanaugh were not present at the meeting. The ordinance will come before the board for a vote in their next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

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