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County fares well in transportation grants

Funding for sidewalks, recreation path

By CONOR BERRY
Messenger Staff Writer

ST. ALBANS CITY - Ask, and if you're lucky, ye shall receive.

Three Franklin County municipalities have been awarded $186,000 in Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) enhancement grants. The funds are earmarked for a variety of transportation-related projects ranging from a new sidewalk for St. Albans City to a proposed recreation path for the Town of Fairfax.

Gov. Howard Dean and Transportation Secretary Brian R. Searles announced the round of funding late last week. In all, the state's Transportation Enhancement Advisory Committee (TEAC), which determines which projects should be funded, allocated $3 million for 32 projects throughout Vermont. TEAC received more than 46 separate grant applications seeking more than $6.5 million in funding.

Locally, the City of St. Albans received $48,000 to install roughly 750 feet of new sidewalk and curbing on the north side of Congress Street between Smith Street and the city's northeastern border with the Town of St. Albans.

The town received an $18,000 enhancement grant to study which side of Fairfax Street would be better suited for a new sidewalk. The busy road linking routes 104 and 7 attracts a lot of foot traffic, especially the section closest to the Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center, according to town officials.

However, the largest chunk of the local funding ­ $120,000 ­ was awarded to the Town of Fairfax for a recreation path. The path is one component of an ambitious riverside park project that has already received some funding.

"That's very good news," Carol Lizotte, president of the Fairfax Recreation Path Committee, said Monday. Lizotte, who has been overseeing the grant application process for the town, said the funding would cover the cost of installing the paved portion of the roughly half-mile-long path. Next week, the town will apply for funding for the remaining gravel portion of the path, said Lizotte.

"We're pleased and we're motivated to just get the rest of it done," said Lizotte. "It looks like its finally moving."