City considers options for upgrading and adding sidewalks | Local news

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City officials plan to use eventual state and federal funding to improve and build sidewalks in the city.

The city is expected to get $ 250,000 to help with pedestrian improvements in the state, with money for improvements near a proposed airlift at Elizabeth City State University.

The city’s request in July for a $ 2 million grant under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program was rejected. This money was to be used for the Weeksville Road Accessibility and Connectivity Plan, which includes a new multi-use pathway along Halstead Boulevard and the Weeksville Road corridor.

“USDOT has yet to tell us where the request failed, but we expect a follow-up next month,” said city grants coordinator Jon Hawley, referring to the US Department of Transportation. “This will help us know if we resubmit the application next year.”

Hawley said the city was continuing to explore other grant opportunities to fund sidewalk improvements.

“We’re still discussing sources of funding that might help us,” Hawley said. “Some grant programs that can pay for street improvements will only do so if they are linked to broader community or economic development, housing or job creation initiatives. This can therefore make it difficult to align WalkEC projects with them. “

Should future funding become available, any improvements would be guided by the city’s WalkEC master plan.

City staff informed city council earlier this month of needed sidewalk improvements after Councilor Kem Spence asked staff to make improvements to River Road.

Community Development Director Kellen Long told city council staff are in contact with the North Carolina Department of Transportation as many of the pedestrian master plan improvements lie along roads maintained by the State.

Long said that after consulting with DOT resident engineer David Otts, the city outlined the process to be followed if funds become available for sidewalk improvements. Part of this process is that the city should enter into an encroachment agreement with the NCDOT.

“River Road is the one that has been on our radar for quite some time,” Long said. “The project was thrown into the project pool (NCDOT).”

Some of the other sidewalk projects needed include North River Road, Herrington Road, and the NC 344 Halstead Boulevard sidewalk.

Long said the next steps in implementing the WalkEc plan include identifying funding for the design and design of selected projects and then securing federal or state funding for construction, including from NCDOT. for roads maintained by the State.

“We can double it to see what kind of funds we might receive,” Long said.

The WalkEC plan began in the fall of 2019 and was funded by a $ 48,000 grant from NCDOT and a matching $ 12,000 from the city.

The WalkEC master plan identified 10 priority projects across the city to make it more pedestrian friendly.

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