published Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Four towns to divvy up $750,000 grant

Dr. Lee Drive, right next to Bridgeport (Ala.) Middle School, is one of the areas slated for sidewalks funded by the Transportation Alternative Program, sits quiet on Wednesday in Bridgeport, Ala. Geraldine, Crossville and Woodville also all will receive a share of the money.
Dr. Lee Drive, right next to Bridgeport (Ala.) Middle School, is one of the areas slated for sidewalks funded by the Transportation Alternative Program, sits quiet on Wednesday in Bridgeport, Ala. Geraldine, Crossville and Woodville also all will receive a share of the money.
Photo by Maura Friedman.

Four towns in Jackson and DeKalb counties in Alabama received more than $750,000 to divvy up for sidewalk projects for residents and schoolchildren to use.

Crossville and Geraldine in DeKalb County got the lion's share of funding at $595,409, while Bridgeport and Woodville in Jackson County will split $156,562, state records show. All four towns intend to use the money for improvements near schools.

The funding was issued through the state's Transportation Alternative Program, which funds projects such as pedestrian and bicycle paths and infrastructure projects that improve access to public transportation and facilities, according to state officials.

CROSSVILLE

The southernmost town in DeKalb County completed a sidewalk project a couple of years ago on one side of state Highway 68, and the grant will fund construction of a matching path on the other side, Crossville Town Clerk Debbie Stepleton said.

Crossville got $400,000 in grant funding for the work.

"We'll do all the way through town past the old [Crossville Elementary] school to the new high school," Stepleton said.

Work that will run more than a mile along the town's main drag will start near Crossville High School and continue to Union Grove Street, she said.

GERALDINE

Geraldine's $195,409 in grant funding will build a 6-foot-wide sidewalk about six-tenths of a mile from state Highway 75 to Geraldine High School, according to Mayor Chuck Ables.

Children at the K-12 school walk the sides of the road to school now, Ables said.

The student population at the school stands at 1,320. Ables noted the town's population is only 896, so the work benefits city and county residents.

"It'll connect the school to the town library. It'll give people access not only to the school but to the town park and the football field," he said.

BRIDGEPORT

Bridgeport Mayor David "Bubba" Hughes said the town just across the Tennessee state line will build sidewalks along a busy section of Doctor Lee Avenue between Sixth and Eighth streets with the $138,000 grant the town received.

"We're going to use it behind our school [Bridgeport Middle School] and the housing authority residences," Hughes said.

He guessed that between 20 and 30 students walk to the school daily, and a nearby truck route creates a danger officials hope will be thwarted by the project.

WOODVILLE

Woodville is home to Woodville High School, another K-12 school attended by children of all ages, according to municipal clerk Brenda Austin.

"We're going to build some sidewalks between the school and the football field, because there's not a safe way for the students to get there," Austin said.

The project will extend about a half mile from the school to the football field on College Street.

"We're delighted we'll have a safe way for the children to get to the football field," she said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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