East Texas Cities Apply for Sidewalk Funds

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

Lufkin, TX (KTRE) - Across Texas, cities are completing applications for to receive state funds for sidewalks.  This includes cities in East Texas eager to extend current sidewalks, while connecting parks and schools.  The Lufkin City Council unanimously approved to apply for TxDot's Statewide Transportation and Enhancement Program – or S.T.E.P.

Chuck Walker, the city's Public Utilities and City Engineer describes the grant, "it's a transportation grant.  It allows you to do anything other than streets: concrete walkways, paths, stuff like that."

The S.T.E.P. funds will be used to create safe walkways for children and pedestrians.  The sidewalk design aims to connect city parks and schools.

When the council approved the application, they understood that the state funds will only pay 80% of the city's estimated 4 million dollar project.  The leftover costs will be covered by the city's general fund.

"They realize it's going to be an 80-20 match and they're going to have to put up $400,000," said Chuck Walker.

One of the spots designated for the proposed sidewalks is across the street from Chambers Park, running parallel to these railroad tracks along Feagin Drive.  However, the city's design targets three areas for sidewalk construction.

Chuck Walker described the areas, "Feagin from Chambers Park down to Grace Dunne Richardson Park.  York Street and on Kerth Drive.

If TxDot approves the city's application, the work of implementing the sidewalk design begins.  According to Chuck Walker with the city, it could take 5-6 months before the actual construction of sidewalks starts.  Outside companies will bid for the opportunity to work on the sidewalks in a contract for the city.

Other East Texas cities are also applying for TxDot's S.T.E.P. funds and include Nacogdoches and Huntington.  Lufkin applied for S.T.E.P. funds before in 2006 and was not selected.  This year's application expanded the design from the first time.

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