TDOT awards a $1M grant
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Apr 25, 2014 | 1144 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced Cleveland is the recipient of a $961,624 Multimodal Access Fund Grant.

The grant will fund sidewalk and bus shelter projects in the Wildwood Avenue and Dalton Pike area.

“What it is going to do is construct sidewalks from 20th Street there on Dalton Pike and Wildwood and go south to right around [the Treasury Drive] Walmart,” said Greg Thomas, Cleveland planning director. “It will basically make a connection to the existing sidewalk there at Walmart.”

The projects will provide residents with better, safer walking transportation options and better access to the CUATS bus system.

“These grants are about creating transportation options for people across Tennessee,” said Gov. Bill Haslam. “Improving our facilities for walking, biking and transit is essential to the continued growth and success of our towns and cities, and creating more livable communities for our residents.”

The city of Cleveland will pay a required 5 percent match.

Thomas said it is a “great feeling” to bring these funds to the community.

“I know we are meeting a great need in the community. That is the kind of thing that makes me want to get up for work in the morning,” Thomas said.

He said it is a beneficial project as the bus system continues to grow.

“Spot repair” for cracked sidewalks between 9th and 20th streets is also included in the grant.

Sidewalk work will also be done on 9th Street, Chippewa Avenue and Blythe Avenue.

These areas were chosen because “... we could connect to existing sidewalks down there and there was a lot of documented need in the area. People walk to shopping and employment near the Wildwood area and there is no sidewalk for them to go on,” Thomas said.

Need was documented through census data, community surveys and discussions with service organizations in the area.

Representatives of the organizations wrote letters for inclusion in the grant application outlining the need and extending support for the project.

Three bus shelters will be constructed through the grant funding.

Robert Varnell, assistant director of the Cleveland Urban Area Transit System, said the shelters will be installed on the bus system’s “Red Line” route.

“We looked at options that were close to the center routes,” Varnell said.

Thomas said one shelter will be on Wildwood Avenue, one near the Blythe Avenue Family Support Center and the last near Walmart.

“We are very excited about it,” Varnell stressed. “Right now we don’t have any shelters in town and that is something we are looking to change.”

The shelter will provide a more comfortable and safer wait.

Varnell described the project an example of the cooperation between CUATS and the city.