By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) Commissioner Tom King presented Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero with a check for $100,000 to renovate and establish safe sidewalks for students attending West Side School.
The funds were part of an 80-20 grant program through which the City of Picayune will contribute $20,000 to $25,000 in matching funds.
“The rough estimate was $125,000 so the check for $100,000 was the 80 percent that MDOT funded with the grant,” said City of Picayune Grants Coordinator Christy Goss.
“The award was accepted by council Tuesday night. Within the next two months we hope to see people out there beginning to work. In the meantime the city will put out bids to be awarded after the bid period has closed,” she said.
“The project will start at the beginning of Kirkwood and Willliams intersection and will end approximately halfway down Sixth Avenue,” said Goss.
The grant is one of four active grants from MDOT, Goss said. In addition to the Safe Routes to School Grant, she reports there are:
— $248,000 Federal Surface Transportation Program Funds for paving Memorial Boulevard and lights on Mississippi Highway 43 North to U.S. Highway 11
— $200,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant Lights and signs on Goodyear Boulevard and Main Street area
— $35,000 Urban Youth Grant which gives students the opportunity to work with the city for the summer
While presenting the check, King said, “This will address sidewalk ADA accessibility and crosswalk striping. This is a worthwhile project. We are proud to give this to you. It is 100 percent federal money, but it is our charge to distribute it.
“We appreciate the progressive mode that Pearl River County has been in. We look forward to a continued relationship.”
Mayor Ed Pinero said, “Commissioner King acknowledged that Pearl River County and Picayune had not received their fair share of grant money in the past, and prior to his election promised to correct that. He is a man of his word and I want everyone to know that.”
City Public Works Director Eric Morris said, “We are very pleased to be getting the assistance from MDOT. It offsets the budgets that the taxpayers pay for. It allows those funds to be used for other needed things. It will allow the children who walk to have safer transport between home and school. It will also beautify the city.”