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Millions awarded locally for sidewalk improvements

By Scott Harvey

Austin – Several Northeast Texas communities have been awarded funding to be used for educational programs and infrastructure improvements that make it safer for children to walk or bike to school.

The Texas Department of Transportation announced Thursday they've awarded $54 million in Safe Routes to Schools grants.

Among the 200 projects awarded statewide, 13 will be received locally. $434,000 will be awarded to the City of Commerce for the construction of sidewalks for better access to schools, namely the new A.C. Williams Elementary.

"I think this is just another way the city and the school district can work together on some common goals," said Commerce Mayor Quay Throgmorton. "One of those goals is to obviously get our children to school in a safe manner, so we look forward to hopefully implementing this grant in the not too distant future. "

The Greenville ISD will receive over $1.6 million to install sidewalks, signs and pavement markings at its four elementary schools.

"Fundamental of the grant is to promote safe route to school through physical activity and through walking within the neighborhood to the local school," said Greenville Public Works Director Massoud Ebrahim.

Other communities also receiving funding for similar projects, the City of Paris ($360,000), City of Farmersville ($484,500), Mt. Vernon ISD ($399,110), Terrell ISD ($419,110), and the City of Heath ($1 million).

TxDot has laid out five goals in awarding these monies: Reduce congestion, enhance safety, expand economic opportunity, improve air quality and increase the value of transportation assets.