CHARLESTON — On Monday, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin presented more than $7 million in federal funds to West Virginia communities, including a $320,000 grant to the Town of Mason to finish phase three of their continuing sidewalk project.
In completing phase three, Mason Mayor Mindy Kearns stated the town will construct a new sidewalk on the east side of town stretching from Foster Street to Anderson Street, as well as from the Wal-Mart plaza to Wahama High School. Previously completed phases one and two included completing the sidewalk on the west side of town and the sidewalk from Farmer’s Bank to Foster Street, respectively.
“We were thrilled to get the grant and it was one of the larger ones given away that day,” Kearns said. “We felt honored because we are a small town. To get that much money, it was really exciting.”
Kearns added the starting date for construction was unknown, since the town still has other work to do concerning the project, including paperwork, as well as hiring an engineer to oversee the project and taking bids for contractors.
Tomblin presented these grants in conjunction with the West Virginia Transportation Enhancement Grant Program, which is a federal-aid program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration that assists with non-traditional transportation projects around West Virginia, including the construction of sidewalks and trails and improving the safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as preserving historic resources and stimulating tourism development.
At a recent council meeting, as previously reported, Mason council members were informed the town was approved to apply for a grant to fund the sidewalk project through this program. Kearns stated the town applied for this recently awarded grant earlier in 2012 and the results, which are typically announced in August, were delayed until January. Kearns added that since this grant will allow the town to finish the project, no other grants will be needed or applied for.
Also on Monday, Tomblin presented nearly $1.2 million to projects in conjunction with the Recreational Trails Program, as well as nearly another million to projects in the Safe Routes to School Grant Program.