The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Town applies for grant for school sidewalks

 

October 21, 2021

The Town of Cathlamet is applying for a sidewalk funding grant so that students have a safe walkway to waiting parents' vehicles when school's out. Courtesy photo.

Submitted by Council Member David Olson

The Town of Cathlamet on Oct. 15 submitted a $160,000 grant request to the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program Set-Aside (TA) to install sidewalks on South Third Street to link the Julius Wendt Elementary and Wahkiakum High School campuses.

The program is administered by the Cowlitz Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) and provides federal funds for community-based projects that, among other things, integrate pedestrian and street transportation and improves transportation infrastructure.

As submitted, the project will create a sidewalk on the school side of the street between the elementary school and the high school campus, separating children and foot traffic from school buses and moving vehicles. Only a grassy uneven shoulder strip currently exists on the north side of the street outside a cyclone fence, with little in the way of curbs or any form of barrier or protection between pedestrians and the street. The existing shoulder strip becomes muddy and dangerous to students during the rainy winter months.

A more expansive, $823,534 version of this project was proposed in 2018 to the Washington State Department of Transportation Pedestrian & Bicycle Safe Routes to School Programs but was not funded.

The TA program is a federal cost reimbursement program. Only after a local agency agreement has been approved by WSDOT can project costs become eligible for reimbursement. This means project sponsors must incur the cost of the project prior to being repaid. Any work conducted prior to a signed local agency agreement is not eligible for reimbursement.

The current project is informally supported by the school district and Wahkiakum County. Formal support will need to be expressed by the town council via a grant contract agreement if and when the grant is selected for funding in the TA program.

Council Member David Olson wrote the grant in cooperation with Wahkiakum County Commissioner Lee Tischer and Wahkiakum School District Superintendent Brent Freeman.

"It was a major effort to put together this grant to meet the TA program deadline of October 15th," Olson said in announcing the grant application. "However, I am happy the grant proposal came together through the combined efforts of county Commissioner Lee Tischer, county Public Works Director Chuck Beyer, town Public Works Superintendent David McNally, town Clerk-Treasurer Sarah Clark, and Wahkiakum School District Superintendent Brent Freeman.

"We hope the modest amount requested, considerably less than the previous 2018 grant, will be deemed suitable for funding under the TA program . . . I also see this as Phase I of a larger project needed to improve sidewalks throughout the school district neighborhood, as envisaged in the stranded 2018 grant request."

The Town of Cathlamet on Oct. 15 submitted a $160,000 grant request to the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program Set-Aside (TA) to install sidewalks on South Third Street to link the Julius Wendt Elementary and Wahkiakum High School campuses.

The program is administered by the Cowlitz Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) and provides federal funds for community-based projects that, among other things, integrate pedestrian and street transportation and improves transportation infrastructure.

As submitted, the project will create a sidewalk on the school side of the street between the elementary school and the high school campus, separating children and foot traffic from school buses and moving vehicles. Only a grassy uneven shoulder strip currently exists on the north side of the street outside a cyclone fence, with little in the way of curbs or any form of barrier or protection between pedestrians and the street. The existing shoulder strip becomes muddy and dangerous to students during the rainy winter months.

A more expansive, $823,534 version of this project was proposed in 2018 to the Washington State Department of Transportation Pedestrian & Bicycle Safe Routes to School Programs but was not funded.

The TA program is a federal cost reimbursement program. Only after a local agency agreement has been approved by WSDOT can project costs become eligible for reimbursement. This means project sponsors must incur the cost of the project prior to being repaid. Any work conducted prior to a signed local agency agreement is not eligible for reimbursement.

The current project is informally supported by the school district and Wahkiakum County. Formal support will need to be expressed by the town council via a grant contract agreement if and when the grant is selected for funding in the TA program.

Council Member David Olson wrote the grant in cooperation with Wahkiakum County Commissioner Lee Tischer and Wahkiakum School District Superintendent Brent Freeman.

"It was a major effort to put together this grant to meet the TA program deadline of October 15th," Olson said in announcing the grant application. "However, I am happy the grant proposal came together through the combined efforts of county Commissioner Lee Tischer, county Public Works Director Chuck Beyer, town Public Works Superintendent David McNally, town Clerk-Treasurer Sarah Clark, and Wahkiakum School District Superintendent Brent Freeman.

"We hope the modest amount requested, considerably less than the previous 2018 grant, will be deemed suitable for funding under the TA program . . . I also see this as Phase I of a larger project needed to improve sidewalks throughout the school district neighborhood, as envisaged in the stranded 2018 grant request."

 

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