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By KEVIN KOELLING
CANNELTON – The first phase of a new round of Safe Routes to School Grants has “pretty well been approved” and the work it will fund must begin by the spring, Cannelton Mayor Mary Snyder said during a regular common-council meeting Aug. 12.
“They’ve pretty well guaranteed that the first phase should start with the next school year,” she told its members.
As the News has reported, the city has benefited previously from the funding mechanism administered by the Indiana Department of Transportation and continued to seek money through it for further work.
And as they have done previously, council members discussed their inability to use the money to repair sidewalk problems directly in front of Myers Grade School.
“It’s in bad shape on both sides,” Councilman Emory Yaggi said.
“I know we don’t have much money,” Councilman Jack Harris said, “but we’ve almost got to do that because the sidewalks need (work) and they’re paying for 79 percent of it.”
Councilman Emory Yaggi agreed.
“They’re in very bad shape,” he noted.
“Phase 1 did not include the block in front of Myers Grade School,” the mayor said, explaining the state transportation agency funds work up to within a block of schools.
“We need to find somebody to get the money for that … on both sides” of the street, Yaggi said.
Councilman Melvin McBrayer said previous Mayor Smokey Graves “worked on it for quite a few years, and here we are still going into the sixth year; we need to get this project started.”
Snyder said the city center’s designation as a historical district has impeded past efforts to get repairs started.
A second phase could provide up to $250,000 improve sidewalks along First and Knight streets, the mayor said.
The city could be required to provide $2,686 in matching funds, but “this won’t come about until next year if we get through all the legal things that we have to do yet,” Snyder said.
If the second phase is approved, it should follow closely on the heels of the first, she added. The council approved a motion to authorize the matching funds.