Craig receives CDOT grant to improve sidewalks for children | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig receives CDOT grant to improve sidewalks for children

Nicole Inglis

Craig Middle School students Kaleb Albert, from left, Cade Bangs and Mariah Bangs walk along a dirt path alongside the west side of the school on Yampa Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. The city of Craig worked with the Moffat County School District to acquire $188,905 in grant funds from the Colorado Department of Transportation to provide safe sidewalk routes for CMS and Sandrock Elementary School students.

— Eleven-year-old Bailey Baker took her shoes off on the way home from Sandrock Elementary School on Wednesday allowing her feet to soak in the warm weather from the pavement on Tucker Street.

But Bailey and her siblings, Kameron, 8, and Makenna, 10, had more on their minds than enjoying the spring weather.

The trio had to watch for traffic and be careful not to tread on people's property, Bailey said, because there are no sidewalks on that particular block.

"It's really scary," she said. "Sometimes the traffic is really bad, especially on cold mornings, and you never know when someone is going to swerve."

According to minutes from a recent Colorado Department of Transporta­tion Commission meeting, however, the Bakers' daily routine could change for the better.

The city of Craig, which worked in conjunction with Moffat County School District, is slated to receive $188,905 in CDOT funds to help provide safe routes to schools for children to be used by children at Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary.

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At its March 18 meeting, the CDOT Transportation Commission approved the fiscal year 2010 Safe Routes projects, including $2.5 million in infrastructure grants across the state.

A total of $500,000 was granted to rural areas, and urban projects received $1 million. Routt County also received a non-infrastructure grant of $16,000, for educating the community about safe routes to school.

Craig was one of three rural projects in the state that received infrastructure funds.

School district and city officials said they were waiting to celebrate the grant until official word came from CDOT.

"Until we get the award letter or the grant contract or both, it's not a certainty," City Manager Jim Ferree said.

Superintendent Joe Petrone agreed that the process is still in its early stages.

"We're eagerly anticipating the award letter," Petrone said. "At which time we'd like to recognize the team of individuals that made this possible."

The city and school district applied for the grant one year ago, but it was denied.

Ferree said the funds, once officially awarded, will be used to install sidewalks in the vicinity of CMS and Sandrock Elementary, including the east side of Yampa Avenue north of Ninth Street, the south side of Ninth Street and blocks on Rose, Breeze and Russell streets.

Still, the project is a long way off, Ferree said.

"We're months and months away from being able to bid this," Ferree said. "So we don't know how many sidewalks we can do."

The city and school district expect to hear official word from CDOT within the next few weeks.

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