The Devine City Council is exploring the possibility of applying for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternative grant to build sidewalks on Highway 173 toward Walmart in a bid to address pedestrian safety along the increasingly busy road.
Council is set to consider the grant in a Special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 10 at 6:00 pm. The meeting will be live streamed through the City’s website at www.cityofdevine.org.
Judy Langford of grant writing company Langford Community Management Services called in to the January 26 Council meeting to discuss the TA opportunity, which has over $10 million available for rural areas with populations under 5,000 in this round of funding, though TxDot is emphasizing connectivity between school campuses.
“It’s always about connectivity,” Langford said. “They do like to connect schoolchildren with their homes. They like to get people, any pedestrian, whether they be children or adults, off the highway and put them on a safe place to travel.”
Money is also an issue, as the TA grant requires 20 percent matching funds. The City finished with a deficit the past two fiscal years, and is on track to do so again in current fiscal year.
While TxDot is prioritizing sidewalks that connect schools, Langford said the City’s desire for sidewalks to Walmart could still be funded.
“It’s not that it’s ineligible,” Langford said. “It’s eligible, it’s whether it’s the most competitive grant to put in or not.”
District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez said that pedestrian traffic to Walmart is high and that he was afraid someone would be hurt.
“I have concern about the people walking up there,” Lopez said. “The traffic is terrible now, and you have a lot of 18-wheelers that are hauling materials up and down.”
Langford said that Council wanted to focus on constructing sidewalks to Walmart, it could do so.
“If it’s something the Council is interested in doing, if you give the okay to go ahead and talk with an engineer, we can work up some numbers for sidewalks along 173 and see how far things will go,” Langford said.
By Marly Davis