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Council approves bid in Safe Route to School Sidewalk project

Get your walking shoes on, because you’re about to see some future footwork in action.

During a Dec. 16 Osceola City Council meeting, the council awarded the Safe Route to School Sidewalk project’s construction bid to Bud Jones Construction for $166,662.25.

Bud Jones Construction is also partnering with Country Concrete, but will be considered the general contractor.

“I’m actually quite excited,” said Ty Wheeler, city administrator/clerk. “I think this is a great bid. I think this is going to be a great project. I’m pleased that we’ve got local contractors doing it.”

What is the

project?

The Safe Route to School Sidewalk project started as a committee in 2008. Efforts on the project were resurrected again in 2012.

The project, through visual surveys conducted during school hours, identified Fillmore Street from the railroad tracks to Shaw Street and Jefferson Street near the downtown square to elementary school, as primary routes for students walking to and from school.

The project will construct a 6-foot wide sidewalk specifically to accommodate heavy school traffic. Its goal is to also encourage more walking and pedestrian recreation for children, as well as adults.

Councilmen inquired if bicycles will be allowed on the sidewalk, and the answer was yes.

“I think the purpose of the wide 6-foot sidewalk was to accommodate pedestrian traffic and bicycles,” Wheeler said.

Funding

The sidewalk project is a city project being funded primarily by a Wellmark Foundation grant. Clarke Community Development Corporation (CCDC) also helped to match the grant.

“I just want to say that I’m really excited about this,” said Bill Trickey, executive director of CCDC. “It’s our first leg of many legs of the Safe Routes to School (project). We’ve been working on this for four, five years, and I didn’t think we’d ever get it done. … I think it’s going to speak volumes for our community.”

Construction will start during the beginning of construction season of next year, most likely during the early spring.

Walking helps

Councilman Dr. George Fotiadis discussed how he has been focused on walking as a means of transportation for more than a decade.

“It’s something that’s just surprisingly refreshing to do mentally, as well as physically,” he said. “You can clear your head. You can plan your upcoming day. Just something that I wonder — if kids sometimes, especially if they use it to get to school — I wonder if sometimes kids can relearn how to do that.”

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