Grandview officials are prepping for a slew of applications for federal aid earmarked for street and highway improvements.
At a April 17 work session of the Board of Aldermen, Public Works Director Dennis Randolph outlined potential projects for the board and shared priorities for potential funds. Together, Randolph and the board narrowed down seven projects to submit for federal funds. The seven projects for which the city will apply for grants are:
• A $1 million pedestrian bridge over 150 Hwy just west of Grand Summit;
• Widening 155th street from the east frontage road to the eastern city limits to three lanes, adding sidewalks and a multi-use path. The estimated cost for that project is about $2.5 million, for which federal funds would pay for all but $250,000.
• Landscape the roadside of Highgrove/Main St from Winchester to the east frontage road, including sidewalk rehabilitation at Bennington, a $650,000 project;
• A Byars Rd "trail connector" that would provide a link between 150 Hwy's multi-use path and Byars Rd sidewalks (about $150,000).
• Extending 135th St. from 5th St to the west frontage road, a $2.2 million project that includes two road lanes, curbs and gutters, storm sewer and a 10-foot-wide multi-use path.
• Reconstructing curbs and resurfacing Highgrove Rd from the east city limits to Whie Ave (about $925,000);
• Extending the 150 Hwy north frontage road from Gateway Commons to Grand Summit Blvd., with two or three lanes plus a 10-foot-wide multi-use path at a cost of about $900,000.
"We have needs that far outweigh our ability to fund them...federal funds are one way to address the shortage." Randolph said. "These funds can help us leverage our available transportation sales tax funds as we have done with our Main Street projects."
The current round of federal fund applications, administered through the Mid-America Regional Council, are available for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which begins in October 2015. The funds could cover up to 80 percent of costs for whatever projects are awarded funds. There is about $40 million total available, but cities all across mid-America will be competing for that money.
A few members of the board have said that they are politically opposed to the use of "big-government grants" to fund local projects. But in the end, no members of the board actually suggested not going after the money.
"Someone is going to get it," said Mayor Steve Dennis. "It might as well be us."
Randolph reminded the board that to be eligible for federal funding, the potential projects must have "area-wide importance," that improves traffic flow or safety for a broad segment of the population, as opposed to projects that may only benefit one or two neighborhoods.
He added that it's likely not all seven projects would receive federal funds.
"Practically speaking, we'll be thrilled if we can get one or two of these," Randolph said, "because the funds are for the entire MARC region. We're looking ahead to the future. There are no guarantees, but if we don't apply, we won't get anything."