Athens getting almost $400K for new sidewalks - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Athens getting almost $400K for new sidewalks

Athens is getting almost $400,000 for new sidewalks. (Source: WAFF) Athens is getting almost $400,000 for new sidewalks. (Source: WAFF)

The city of Athens will receive nearly $400,000 to construct sidewalks to make walking to and from the new Athens High School and surrounding areas safer for students and residents.

According to the city spokesperson, Gov. Kay Ivey notified Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks by letter that approval was given to Athens for federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, or ADECA, in the amount of $393,024. The city will provide a 20 percent match.

“The latest Census Bureau figures show Athens has grown by nearly 16 percent since 2010, and if we want to continue to be attractive and be a growing city, not a struggling one, we have to provide quality of life amenities,” Marks said. “That includes safe and handicap-accessible pedestrian routes connecting our educational, commercial and residential areas. These funds will give Athens the opportunity to address a critical need.”

The project will install American Disabilities Act compliant sidewalks along Pryor Street and U.S. 31 to connect residential areas, the Athens State University area, commercial areas and the new Athens High School.

One sidewalk will be on the west margin of U.S. 31 starting at Juniper Circle and moving south to Hobbs Street East. Another sidewalk will be on Pryor Street near the old Pilgrim's Pride and will connect to a sidewalk on U.S. 31.

In a support letter to ADECA, Athens City Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay said the need for a sidewalk is “even greater as we complete our new high school in the fall of 2018.”

When high school students move to the new Athens High School, middle school students will move to the old high school on U.S. 31.

“These additions would provide sidewalk access to and from these two schools and to the surrounding neighborhoods,” Holladay said.

"These sidewalks are crucial for the safety of the children walking in the area. The pedestrian traffic is only going to grow as that corridor develops with the construction of new schools," said Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson.

WAFF 48 News will continue to track the progress on this construction project and look for updates on a start and completion date.

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