City of Traverse City to Start Construction on Sidewalks Around Schools
The city of Traverse City is getting some major upgrades to their sidewalks this summer.
Along with two other sidewalk projects this summer, sidewalks and trails around schools will be redone and expanded thanks to the federal program Safe Routes for Kids, which aims to make sidewalks and trails safer for kids to walk or bike to school.
Interest for this project started back in 2016.
“We came together with a simple meeting with a bunch of partners including all the school districts to think about improving safety and access for kids to get to school,” said Ty Schmidt, Norte’s Executive Director. “It’s really a game changer in support of ready to learn kids.”
The small get together 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 Route to School program,” said Traverse City Planning Director Shawn Winter. “That directed city staff to get working on the application in collaboration with a number of community partners.”
In July of 2018, the city was awarded a $2.4 million grant to fund this project. Construction will start on April 19 at Eastern Elementary.
“It’s going to be kind of working in a cycle from school to school going with a little bit of overlap,” said Winter. “As we’re wrapping up at one school location, they’ll be moving to the next.”
The project will create 3 and a half miles of new trails and sidewalks around school property, and in the neighborhoods surrounding the schools. Most of the construction will be done during the summer while kids are out of school.
It’s a project unique to the state of Michigan, and especially Traverse City.
“It’s an incredible investment in our community specifically because it’s the entire town,” said Schmidt. “From West Middle to Traverse Heights including all school districts public, private, charter.”
These new sidewalks will hopefully help students establish a healthy habit right before school.
“Kids get an opportunity to get some fresh air, get some energy out before they get to school so they’re in a better position to learn when they get there,” said Winter.
The project is expected to be done by the end of September.