Com­mis­sion­ers ap­prove two pedes­trian grants

The Covington News - - Front page - By Gabriel Khouli

The Newton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously ap­proved two pedes­trian-friendly grants Tues­day night, one for a trail in Por­terdale, the other for side­walks and street cross­ings to al­low stu­dents to walk or bike to school.

The county is seek­ing $100,000 from the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources to build a 2,000-foot-sec­tion of trail up Hem­lock Al­ley from the Por­terdale De­pot to a trail loop at Yel­low River Park. The trail will also con­nect to Turkey Creek trail, which will be built in 2011 from Turner Lake Park to Por­terdale.

The county and Por­terdale would each con­trib­ute $12,500, or in-kind ser­vices to the project, ac­cord­ing to a memo from Ch­eryl Delk, county spe­cial projects co­or­di­na­tor. Por­terdale would as­sume main­te­nance for the trail. If the county paid cash, the money would come from the gen­eral fund, Ad­min­is­tra­tive As­sis­tant John Mid­dle­ton said.

Also Tues­day, Kathy Gar­ber, grant co­or­di­na­tor for the Newton County School Sys­tem, pre­sented a $316,700 grant ap­pli­ca­tion for the fed­eral Safe Routes to School pro­gram. No lo­cal money would have to be con­trib­uted.

The pro­gram en­cour­ages chil­dren to walk or bike to school. That would curb obe­sity and re­duce pol­lu­tion and bus­ing costs for their schools.

The grant would be used to build 14,460 feet of

side­walks, 15 pedes­trian cross­ings, three in-road warn­ing light sys­tem cross­walks, five 20-bike bi­cy­cle racks and six stop-for-pedes­trian signs.

The in­fra­struc­ture would be placed on Brown Bridge Road for stu­dents at West Newton Ele­men­tary and Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Mid­dle schools; Fairview Road for stu­dents at Fairview Ele­men­tary and Cle­ments Mid­dle schools; and Kirk­land Road for stu­dents at Live Oak Ele­men­tary School. The roads have a high-traf­fic vol­ume and are dan­ger­ous to cross. A large num­ber of stu­dents live within two miles of the schools.

Grant re­cip­i­ents will be an­nounced in March, with one awarded in each U.S. Con­gres­sional District. Newton County is in the Eighth Con­gres­sional District.

Also Tues­day, the board ap­proved a request from the Newton County Fire Depart­ment to sell an old fire truck, with an es­ti­mated value of $7,500. The 1995 truck will be sold on gov­deals.com.

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