Aug. 23, 2011
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Meramec Region receives $500,000 in Safe Routes to School grants
The Missouri Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) advisory committee has awarded 16 grants totaling $3.4 million including nearly $500,000 to communities in the Meramec Region.
On July 1, the City of Potosi was awarded a SRTS grant totaling $249,998, and the City of St. James was awarded a SRTS grant totaling $249,825. Meramec Regional Planning Commission in St. James provided assistance with both grant applications.
The SRTS program, created in 2005 by the Federal Highway Administration, helps ensure the safety of students in kindergarten through eighth grade traveling to and from schools and encourages students to bicycle and walk to school for a healthier lifestyle.
Potosi’s grant project includes sidewalk, a pedestrian bridge, ADA improvements and sign and cross walk upgrades from West High Street, along Lead Street, to John Evans Middle School and Trojan Intermediate School. The grant will benefit the 397 students enrolled at the middle school and the 547 students enrolled at the intermediate school.
“This is a great thing for the city because we currently don’t have a designated sidewalk to school. It will also encourage kids to walk or bike to school,” said Potosi Mayor T.R. Dudley.
The project will also connect to sidewalk improvements near the schools provided by a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to the Washington County Health Department, Dudley said.
The SRTS grant includes construction of a pedestrian bridge over Breton Creek. A small park located near the creek is a common place for youth to gather before and after school, and the bridge will provide a safe route for traveling, Dudley said.
The project will also benefit students at a day care along the route, Dudley added.
St. James’ grant project includes sidewalk, ADA improvements, sign and cross walk upgrades and pedestrian signals from Kathryn Street, along State Route DD, to the Highway 68 intersection and then picks up at Dillon Street with sidewalk to Lucy Wortham James Elementary School’s entrance.
Candace Connell, director of community development, noted the sidewalk on Dillon would connect with other SRTS sidewalk projects for the city and the city’s MoDOT Enhancement Grant project. This would create a safe route for students from Kathryn Street, down Highway 68 and across Interstate 44, to St. James Middle School once all projects have been completed.
Besides benefiting the 875 students enrolled at the elementary school, the project will provide a safe route for the practicing cross-country team and other athletic teams that use State Route DD for travel, Connell said.
This is the second SRTS grant the city has received for sidewalks, Connell added.
More information about Safe Routes to School may be found at www.modot.mo.gov/safety/SafeRoutestoSchool.htmor persons may contact MRPC at 573-265-2993.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 28, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.