Roosevelt Elementary students walk to school on Wednesday. Roosevelt and Kennedy have new sidewalks thanks to the National Safe Routes to School program. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — Kennedy and Roosevelt have new sidewalks, but Jackson is going to have to wait just a little bit longer.
The new sidewalks are a result of the National Safe Routes to School program — a 2005 initiative that provides grants to cities and counties for the improvement of walking and biking routes to schools. The program was discontinued in 2012, though similar projects can still apply for funding through a different, federal program.
Kingsport received three Safe Routes to School grants in the past five years — two for actual sidewalk construction and a third ($46,200) for bicycle and pedestrian safety education at 11 city schools.
The first grant came in 2008 for $215,000 and called for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements at Kennedy and Roosevelt elementary schools, along with educational programs and promotional activities to encourage walking and biking.
That project had been delayed for years, due to stimulus-funded re-paving projects, two rounds of bidding where the bids came in significantly over budget and all along the way, the Tennessee Department of Transportation had to approve every step of the process.Read more in the Sunday print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.