Last updated: August 21. 2014 12:42PM - 389 Views
By - ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

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The City of Russellville recently received $100,000 for renovating sidewalks as part of the “Safe Routes to School” program enabling children to safely walk or ride their bikes to school.

Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton said the city plans to begin the sidewalk repair on First Street which is the closest to Logan County Head Start.

“We are very thankful to have received these monies to help kids get to and from school safely,” said mayor Stratton. “It’s about quality of life and protecting those little ones in our community.”

The $100,000 “Safe Routes to School” (SRTS) grant will be used to repair sidewalks from East First Street to East Sixth Street. The sidewalks will allow students and staff better accessibility to Logan County Head Start, Stevenson Elementary and Russellville Jr. High/Senior High Schools.

“This project will afford children and their families a better opportunity to walk of ride bikes, which can go along way toward developing to good habits of an active, healthy lifestyle,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

SRTS is a federally funded reimbursement program administered by the Office of Local Programs in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Rural and Municipal Aid.

Today, less than 15 percent of children walk or bicycle to school. The sharp decline in walking or bicycling has had a negative impact on traffic congestion, air quality and student safety around schools. SRTS addresses these concerns and provides resources to establish a program in local communities.

“Providing safe routes to school is a basic necessity in any community,” said state senator Whitney Westerfield, of Hopkinsville. “When we can also use those routes to encourage our children to lead a more active lifestyle, we are having an impact on their future health. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on the community.”

“Having a safe way to walk or bike to school is great news for Russellville. These repairs will help students and neighborhood residents alike, and will be a real benefit to the community,” said state Rep. Martha Jane King, of Russellville. “I have no doubt these sidewalks will see much greater use once the work is complete. Because of that, I want to thank Gov. Beshear and the Transportation Cabinet for their contributions.”

Under the SRTS program, cities and counties can apply for funding for a broad range of projects and activities in close proximity to elementary and middle schools. Eligible projects and activities include new or improved sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes, public awareness campaigns and traffic enforcement near schools. As much as $250,000 can be awarded to a single project.

SRTS projects support Gov. Beshear’s efforts to improve the health of all Kentuckians. The Governor launched kyhealthnow in February as an aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to reduce incidents and death from Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits. It builds on Kentucky’s successful implementation of health care reform and uses multiple strategies over the next several years to improve the state’s collective health.

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