By NATHAN GREGORY
Two recently completed sidewalk projects have made Starkville more pedestrian-friendly.
Through a grant from the National Center for Safe Routes to School, new paths for walkers and cyclists are now on the intersection of Long Street and Miss. Highway 182 and on Whitfield Street.
Local non-profit organization Starkville in Motion successfully applied for the grant last year.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held 10:30 a.m. Feb. 7 on Whitfield Street alongside Armstrong Middle School.
Safe Routes to School is a federally funded organization that has been operating since 1997.
City Engineer Edward Kemp said one of the new sidewalks makes a pedestrian connection between the edge of the Green Oaks Subdivision to downtown and all points in between. The project has an infrastructure and non-infrastructure component, he said. The non-infrastructure component consists of education and encouragement.
“We’ve been working on this since 2008 if not before, and it’s been a long process to get to the finish line, but we’re glad we made it,” Kemp said. “(The sidewalk) ties into existing sidewalks that connect down town to other parts of the city. It does provide a way for kids to walk to school but also anyone in the community to walk to different places if they don’t have a vehicle. It’s great to have both of those things going on simultaneously.”
Mayor Parker Wiseman said he is pleased to see the project complete.
“It is a credit to citizen volunteers in our community who were vigorous in pursuing the grant years ago, and our staff has worked tirelessly to make sure that sidewalk became a reality,” Wiseman said. “It serves a great purpose because it connects one of the largest residential neighborhoods in the community to one of the largest schools in the community.”