Williamstown gets state grant to build sidewalks

WILLIAMSTOWN – The City of Williamstown received a grant to build sidewalks from the West Virginia Division of Highways on Monday with the aid of the Federal Highway Administration.

The city received the $200,000 as part of a more than $7 million 2012 West Virginia Transportation Enhancement Grant Program, which is a federal-aid program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.

The program provides annual funding through the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act to West Virginia communities for non-traditional transportation projects that include improving safety for pedestrians and bicycles through the construction of sidewalks and trails. It also involves the acquisition of scenic or historic sites and stimulating tourism development.

“We are ecstatic,” said City Councilwoman Barbara Lewis, who has been working on the city’s sidewalk projects. “This is something we really were pleased to receive.”

Last year the city received a $245,000 grant from the state for a similar project, Lewis said.

“This is for another section of town,” she said.

It is unknown where either of the two projects will be done, but Lewis said she believes this latest grant might go toward a section of Ninth Street.

“There are a lot of kids that walk to school there and there are no sidewalks on either side of the street,” she said.

The city has planned a meeting with KCI Technologies of Morgantown, W.Va., later this month to discuss the engineering of the sidewalk projects and where they will be best located. The city has a large number of areas in need of sidewalk rehabilitation or full construction, which is why more than one initiative is welcomed, according to Mayor Jean Ford.

“We haven’t come to a conclusion as to where either of the projects will be done,” Lewis said. “After this meeting we should have a better idea.”

In December, city council unanimously approved to accept an anonymous donation from a family in Williamstown for $5,000 a year for the next five years to create, repair, construct and maintain sidewalks.