Another West Union Sidewalk Project In the Works

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The Athens City Council wants to use a community development grant to build a sidewalk on West Union Street.

This time it’s not the sidewalk project aimed at expanding West Union Street near Court Street, but the portion of West Union Street near the Highlander Motel.

Council committees met Monday to talk about a community development block grant for which the city was considering three projects. The CDBG grant would amount to about $67,000 in matching funds, according to City Service Safety Director Paula Horan-Moseley. Moseley said the city would possibly need another $33,000 in funding to complete the project.

The grant comes through the Small Cities Program, which works with low to moderate-income areas. Athens was debating whether to use the funding to help with improvements to the Kimes Reservoir on Blackburn Road, a project on Jefferson Avenue, or the West Union sidewalks.

City Council President Christine Knisely said the reservoir project was probably too big for the grant and would take several forms of funding to complete.

“As we understand the community development block grant program, it’s better suited to a small, discreet project,” Knisely said.

The West Union Street sidewalk project would connect an area of the city where no sidewalk currently exists, and other city council members said they said it would help people with disabilities gain access to other parts of the city. Moseley said the project also aligns itself with the pedestrian master plan for the city.

“We’ve had requests for a number of years to get greater connectivity in that portion of (the city),” Moseley told the council.

Mayor Steve Patterson added that the project would not require assessments for properties along the affected part of the street.