Town awarded grant for school sidewalk


December 16, 2021

The Wahkiakum Safe School Sidewalks grant application submitted by the Town of Cathlamet--ranked #1 by the grant ranking committee --was approved for funding Dec. 8 by the Southwest Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SWRTPO) in the full amount of federal funds requested, $138,400, Council Member and mayor-elect David Olson announced late last week.

The SWRTPO is the designated planning organization for Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, and Wahkiakum counties.

The grant will be used to construct a sidewalk and curb along school grounds on South Third Street.

"This grant application would not have been possible without the prompt help of Superintendent Brent Freeman and county Commissioner Lee Tischer, together with timely input from town Public Works Superintendent David McNally and county Public Works Director Chuck Beyer," Olson said in an emailed statement. "I am also grateful to the town council for including the necessary local match in the approved 2022 town budget.

"It is my hope that this critical project linking our school campuses will provide long overdue sidewalk and safety improvements to the children, parents and neighbors of our Wahkiakum school system. I will do everything possible to see this sidewalk built promptly, hopefully in time for the start of the 2022-23 school year."

Funding is available under the federal 2021 Surface Transportation Block Grant Program Set-Aside Transportation Alternatives [TA]) program which provides federal funds for community-based projects. Although several procedural steps remain (such as signoff by WSDOT and the federal transportation agency) these should be routine and the grant action taken today may be considered a final action, according to information received from SWRTPO. The required 13.5% local match ($21,600) is included in the planned 2021 Town budget, approved by the town council at first reading on Dec. 6.

A formal grant award letter should be sent to the town by Dec. 17, and a signed award letter commitment from the town is due to the CWCOG by Jan. 21.


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