BY JOSH PRESLEY
West Point is another step closer to a new set of sidewalks for Central School and Fifth Street Junior High School. The sidewalks will be funded by a $563,000 grant from Safe Routes to School (SRTS).
The national SRTS program began in 1997 as part of a campaign to reduce deaths and injuries among children walking and bicycling to school.
West Point Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones said the new or repaired sidewalks will be on Brame Avenue, East Street, Westbrook Street, Fifth Street, Progress Street and Main Street.
âThese are the primary routes for kids walking to Fifth Street Junior High and Central School,â Jones said. âWe focused on those schools because elementary students are too young to be walking to school, and high school students are old enough to drive.â
Jones said the city originally received the grant in March 2008, but SRTS guidelines necessitated extra work in some of the areas where the sidewalks will go before the West Point Board of Selectmen can move forward with advertising for bids.
âThe sidewalks have to be 60 inches wide and perfectly level,â he said. âWe had to do some work to be able to accommodate those standards.â
Jones said there was an awning coming out of the old North Side School on Fifth Street that had to be removed to have enough right-of-way, and most of the utility poles on that side of the street had to be moved to back to make way for a new sidewalk.
He said the last set of notes the city received from SRTS concerned fences on Fifth and Progress streets that were too close to the road to provide adequate space for a sidewalk, and will need to be removed.
âWe have a soft timeline, but weâre working on the last set of notes now,â Jones said. âWeâre coming down the final stretch, and when Mississippi Department of Transportation comes and inspects our work, we can start advertising bids.â
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