Thursday, January 29, 2004

Burlington seeks sidewalk help

Funds would fix some, add others

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - Walking around this historic town isn't easy - some sidewalks lead to nowhere, others are crumbling or buckling.

That could change if Boone County gets federal money to fix old sidewalks, build new ones and add street lights. The county has applied for $352,062 in federal transportation funds administered by the state.

Sidewalks would lead to nearby neighborhoods in hopes of bringing residents to the town center, which has been a National Register Historic District since 1979.

"There's quite a bit of residential area around, it's just not connected into town," said Bob Jonas, a planner at the Boone County Planning Commission, which applied for the grant.

Sidewalks would give residents a way to walk to restaurants, such as The County Seat, Coco's Sandwich Shop, The Little Place and The Tousey House.

"That sounds good for us," said Brad Jones, an owner of the County Seat and Coco's, both on Jefferson Street. Justice Center and County Administration Building workers make up much of the restaurants' patrons.

"The sidewalks in town really need to be resurfaced," he said. "Trees are growing up through them and really tearing them up."

If the grant is approved, 2,850 feet of sidewalks would be replaced and 4,347 feet of sidewalks would be added. The project also includes 19 street lights, a pedestrian bridge and brick crosswalks.

When it's complete, residents in Featherstone Drive, off East Bend Road, will be able to walk to the town's center via sidewalks and a 5-foot-wide, 60-foot-long pedestrian bridge that will cross Allens Fork Creek along East Bend.

Kids from Featherstone and Allens Fork Road often ride bikes up East Bend Road, Jonas said.

"It's just horrendous, someone is going to get killed," he said.

The money would come from the federal-aid transportation enhancement program. The county would provide $88,015 in matching funds and the federal government would pay $352,062.

The county has tried to get the grant twice before, but has been turned down. Fiscal Court voted unanimously Tuesday to try again. County Administrator Jim Parsons said he's hopeful this time.

"There were impediments to us getting it in the past that have been removed," Parsons said. "One of our big problems in getting this grant in the past is that we were not Pike County."

Former Gov. Paul Patton hailed from Pike County, which last year received $1 million for Interstate 66 from the program.


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