Grant will help Demopolis with sidewalk updates

The City of Demopolis will be placing new sidewalks in three areas with the help of a grant awarded through the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The city council approved entering into an agreement for the grant funds that will go toward sidewalks in the areas of Westside Elementary School, U.S. Jones Elementary, and Old Springhill Road.

Funding for the project is being provided through ALDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Program. Funds awarded total $640,000 with the city to match those funds with $291,000 for a total project cost of approximately $931,000.

According to Mayor John Laney, the city’s portion of the funds will be spread over three budget cycles, from 2019 through 2021.

In the WES area, sidewalks are tentatively planned for Indian Hill Road, Cherokee Street, Yucca Avenue, Creek Avenue, and Chickasaw Street.

At U.S. Jones, the sidewalk will begin east of the school on Jackson Street to Blacks Drive, then to Arcola Street before turning onto Third Avenue and continuing to Pettus Street.

Each of the three projects are subject to change based on engineering and costs.

Local officials said the areas selected for sidewalks are directly tied to safety.

“We recognized a need to improve the safety of our citizens, particularly children, which is a reason we chose to include those areas at the schools,” Laney said.

“In the Old Spring Hill area, there is simply no safe way for people to walk in that area.”

The order of the three projects is still unknown as the mayor said it will depend on the timing of the projects and the expenses involved within the three calendar years.

“We are asking the engineers to provide a cash flow for each year … if we can accelerate it, that’s what we’ll do,” Laney added.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, May 12 issue of the Demopolis Times.)