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State, town fund new sidewalks

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SPRING HOPE — Financing is in place for new sidewalks connecting Spring Hope’s downtown, residential and commercial districts.

The nearly $800,000 project will mean new sidewalks in strategic and high-traffic areas, improving the quality of life for residents, said Town Manager Jae Kim.

The town board approved a capital project budget ordinance at its most recent meeting. The ordinance authorizes the 2019 Spring Hope Pedestrian Connection Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program Project to be financed by a 80-20 match from the Federal Highway Administration by way of the N.C. Department of Transportation for a $635,692 grant with a 20% match of $158,923 paid by the town with a combination of Powell Bill funding and loans. The total cost will be $794,615.

A map of the proposed sidewalks was posted at Town Hall and online for review by interested residents. Comments included:

• “Sidewalk in front of daughter’s house on South Walnut Street is a disaster — will this be repaired?”

• “Will town be making repairs to current sidewalks? Unsafe on Railroad Street.”

• “Railroad and Walnut unsafe for children to walk to school.”

• “Branch Street sidewalk bad for walking.”

• “Why make new ones when town doesn’t maintain current one(s)?”

• “Which side will the sidewalk be on McLean Street?”

While the project doesn’t include repairs, the town should fix existing sidewalks along with creating new ones, Kim said.

“An assessment of our current inventory of sidewalk was done over the last 12 months,” Kim said. “Ideally, the plan would be to repair existing sidewalks concurrently with the CMAQ project.”

The map showed the proposed sidewalk on McLean Street being placed on the residential side of the street. Kim said the sidewalk can — and probably should and would — be placed on the park and school side of the street.

“For the (CMAQ) application, it was drawn on the side of the residences on McLean Street,” Kim said. “During the next steps of the design and surveying to be done, it has been proposed and can be moved to the opposite side of the street where the majority of the new sidewalk would be on both town and school property.”

The project will connect existing sidewalks along Walnut Street to Spring Hope Elementary School by way of McLean Street. Another section of unfinished sidewalk will connect downtown to the general commercial district of Spring Hope Commons Shopping Center along Nash Street.

Sidewalks will also be placed along North Louisburg Road, crossing Nash Street and connecting onto Branch Street, according to the plans drawn up by Stocks Engineering, the Nashville civic engineering firm contracted by Spring Hope to design the project.

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