City of Traverse City to Start Construction on Sidewalks Around Schools
Traverse City is getting some major improvements to its sidewalks this summer.
Along with two other sidewalk projects this summer, sidewalks and paths around schools are being renewed and expanded thanks to the federal Safe Paths for Children program, which aims to make sidewalks and paths safer for children when they walk or cycle to school .
Interest in this project started back in 2016.
“We partnered with a number of partners, including all school districts, with a simple meeting to reflect on improving children’s safety and access to school,” said Ty Schmidt, executive director of Norte. “It really is a game changer to support children who are willing to learn.”
The small meeting led to the city getting involved and supporting the program.
“In the fall of 2018, the city commission passed a resolution in support of the Safe Way to School program,” said Shawn Winter, Traverse’s director of urban planning. “That directed the city’s staff to work on the application in collaboration with a number of community partners.”
In July 2018, the city received a $ 2.4 million grant to fund this project. Construction on the Eastern Elementary will begin April 19th.
“It’s going to be kind of a school-to-school cycle work that overlaps a bit,” Winter said. “If we pack up at one school location, they move to the next.”
The project will create three and a half miles of new pathways and sidewalks around the school grounds and in the neighborhoods around the schools. Most of the construction work is carried out in the summer when the children are out of school.
It’s a project found only in the state of Michigan, and Traverse City in particular.
“It’s an incredible investment in our community, especially because it’s the whole city,” said Schmidt. “West Middle to Traverse Heights, including all public, private, and charter school districts.”
Hopefully, these new sidewalks will help students develop a healthy habit just before school.
“Children have a chance to get some fresh air and recharge their batteries before they go to school so they can learn better when they get there,” said Winter.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of September.