Town of Beloit to discuss school sidewalks

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Gina Duwe
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TOWN OF BELOIT--About 1 mile of sidewalk could be built along Inman Parkway, but how the project will be paid for remains in question.

Several years ago, the town received a $347,000 state Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School grant for the project. But project costs have increased, leaving the town $215,000 short, said town Administrator Brian Wilson.

The town board will discuss the issue at its 4 p.m. workshop Monday, when the town engineer could offer ideas on state grants or other funding opportunities, Wilson said.

The plan was to build about 1 mile of sidewalk on the north side of Inman Parkway to connect Powers Elementary, Turner middle and high schools and  an apartment complex near Prairie Avenue.

Wilson said estimated costs for the project are $562,000, leaving the town short $215,000. The town could either borrow the money or find another way to pay the costs, he said.

The state awarded the town the Safe Routes to School grant for 2010-11, according to the DOT site, and Wilson was hired in 2012. He said when he arrived, the town needed to complete a project management workshop that wasn't offered until March 2013 before the project could move forward.

As the town prepared to move ahead, a cost revision revealed the increase. The town applied for additional state funding but was denied, Wilson said.

A couple weeks ago, the town received notice from the state asking whether the town was using the grant money, he said. The board needs to decide whether it will come up with the shortfall for the project to move ahead or if it will return the grant money to the state, he said.

If the project advances, the town could get bids out this summer and start in fall, Wilson said.

The board will discuss the issue Monday and direct administrators how to proceed with a formal vote likely at the May 19 meeting, Wilson said.

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