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City coughs up money to close out sidewalk projects

The city voted on Thursday night to throw more money to finally close out the ongoing sidewalk projects throughout Kingston Springs.

The city approved nearly $80,000 on Oct. 19 to finish the sidewalk project on Luyben Hills Road near the interstate exit. While it may appear that the sidewalks have been complete for some time, City Manager John Lawless said that this final bout of money is intended to officially close out the project, fixing three specific things that the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) reviewed.

Specifically, the money will be put towards adding railings for pedestrians to areas of the sidewalk that have steep drop offs; additional piping for areas with poor drainage; and fixing the sink hole that has developed in the Shell parking lot.

A TDOT Multimodal Access Grant provided most of the funding for the project, which added sidewalks to both sides of Luyben Hills Road. The sidewalk on one side of the road is wider than usual in order to make it safe for both pedestrians and bicyclists to use.

The city also approved over $95,000 at this month’s government meeting to close out phase one of the Safe Routes to School project, also known as the Harpeth View Trail Connector project, that began in 2017.

Phase one of this project added a sidewalk along the Harpeth Middle School side of Harpeth View Trail. This sidewalk project extends from East Kingston Springs Road to Cedar Court. Eighty percent of the funding for this project comes from TDOT, so, the city is only expected to pay just over $19,000 of the $95,000.

The sidewalk will make it safer for children to walk and bike to Harpeth Middle School and Harpeth High School.

Additionally, the city voted Thursday to move forward with phase two of the Harpeth View Trail Connector project, which will extend the sidewalk to Woodlands Drive, and then down Woodlands to East Kingston Springs Road, which already has sidewalks. It will create a loop, Lawless said, making the walk to the schools more accessible.

The city received an additional Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for phase two of the project, but TDOT only offered to cover 80% of the project’s cost. The Board of Commissioners had to decide whether they wanted to move forward with the second phase of this project, Lawless said, which would leave “the town on the hook for … a large sum of money.”

Lawless explained that he was able to speak with a TAP grant coordinator at TDOT to get the entire project funded, rather than only 80%. The city ultimately voted to approve the second phase of this project on Oct. 19.

Separately during the city’s monthly meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Carolyn Clark brought forth her No Mow Proposal, which would encourage residents to avoid mowing their grass in the month of April to allow pollinators to thrive.

On the logistics side, this resolution would forgo the city policy for the month of April that requires residents to keep their grass shorter than two feet. The commissioners will vote on this measure during the Nov. 16 meeting.



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