By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The Safe Routes to School grant-funded sidewalk project is between 85 and 90 percent complete.
“The contractors are proceeding to get things done as soon as possible, weather permitting,” said City Manager Ron Neibert.
The project is state grant funded at $249,000, and sidewalks have been laid down Cherry Street from South 27th Street, on Peach Street from 34th to 29th streets and on Jamison Street from Cherry to 27th Street.
According to information from the city engineering department, there are 20 to 25 driveways to pour and additional cleanup throughout such as backfill on sidewalks, sculpting ditches, tilling and seeding.
The sidewalks were expected to be completed by the end of the year, but due to weather, is running later than earlier projected.
The project started with what has been called a “communication breakdown” between affected residents and the city. Many residents were not contacted about the project, but discovered sidewalks would be going in when surveying stakes began appearing in their yards.
As a result, the city council directed then-city engineer Scot Prindiville to be available with blueprints of the project and to make contact with all affected property owners.
The Safe Routes to School program is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The three main goals of the program is to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities to walk and bicycle; to make bicycling and walking safer; and to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution within two miles of both public and private primary and middle schools for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Approved projects are funded at 100 percent by the program and between 70 to 90 percent of funds available in the program support infrastructure projects.