Funding secured for Powdersville sidewalks

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Along Hwy. 153, Hwy. 81

By Stan Welch

The early steps of the process of constructing sidewalks along both sides of Highway 153, and south along Highway 81 have been taken. Funds have been secured from a variety of sources, including a $72,000 grant match from the District Six paving funds, as well as an additional $260,000 from the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP).

TAP is a grant source that evolved from the Safe Schools program several years ago. TAP funds cannot be used for standard road projects, or maintenance uses. It must be used for alternate transportation, such as sidewalks, or hiking or biking trails.

District Six Councilman Ken Waters says that the goal is to be proactive in terms of pedestrian safety. “We have kids walking to school from several of the developments in the area, and it just makes sense to get ahead of the curve on this approach.’

County assistant administrator and transportation director Holt Hopkins said that Anderson School District One, the first school district to apply for and receive funds from the Safe Schools program, agreed to seek funding from the Safe Routes enhancement funds, which are administered by the GPATS planning group.

“The GPATS group saw this as a high priority and agreed to provide $200,000, which the district matched with $50,000. These funds will be used to build sidewalks along Ragsdale Road to connect with these other sections, making getting to Powdersville High School easier and safer.”

Hopkins added that the idea emerged from the series of town hall meetings held by Waters in recent years in the Powdersville area. “We actually had about three different plans but this one seemed to be the best place to start.”

Hopkins cautions that completion of the projects is two or three years away. “We have the funds, and that is very important. But we still have probably a year of engineering work to do and then construction.”