Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
DECATUR – Several improvements will soon be made on the East Central Community College campus as a result of a $92,000 Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) grant presented last week by Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall.
Commissioner Hall “officially” presented the grant check to ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart during the June meeting of the College’s Board of Trustees.
“We are pleased to be part of a project that is a key component in creating safe and easy pedestrian access to several areas on the Decatur campus and the town of Decatur," Hall said during the presentation. "The grant will be an invaluable investment for East Central students and the town of Decatur for years to come.”
Dr. Stewart said the college is “most appreciative” to Hall for coming to campus and personally presenting the $92,000 grant check, and looks forward to completion of the much-needed project.
“I am excited about the work that will be accomplished through these funds, which will improve the personal safety of pedestrians in transit while providing access for those with disabilities," Stewart said. "We appreciate Commissioner Hall’s support of the project and cannot thank him enough for his assistance. The college is fortunate to have a great friend and supporter in Commissioner Dick Hall."
The Mississippi Transportation Commission approved the college’s request for up to $92,000 in Federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds at its April 23 meeting. The funds, along with a required 20 percent local match, comprise the total cost of the project.
The TAP program works with local public agencies such as municipalities and community college districts to construct, plan and design facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized forms of transportation.
Stewart expressed appreciation to EC staff members in compiling information for the grant request and to local legislators for their support and assistance.
“I would be remiss if I did not thank Dr. Stacey Hollingsworth (executive director for Foundation and Alumni Relations) and Mr. Artie Foreman (director of the Physical Plant) for their hard work on this project," he said. "They were instrumental in the success of our grant application. They worked extremely hard to coordinate and prepare an application that would ‘put our best foot forward’ and they deserve much credit for the success of the application. They will also be involved in the implementation of the project.
“I also want to recognize the assistance of our legislative delegation throughout the application process. Scott Bounds, Randy Rushing, Giles Ward, Michael Evans, Tom Miles, Terry Burton and Ferr Smith were enthusiastic supporters of this project. I believe their help was also instrumental in the success of our grant application and they deserve a big thank you from the college!”
The project includes construction of the following: a five-foot sidewalk west of Decatur United Methodist Church and east of EC’s South Campus facilities to the parking lot of Barber Hall; an adjoining five-foot sidewalk parallel to West Broad Street (in front of Ethridge Hall and the Decatur Public Library) to the corner of South Seventh Avenue; an adjoining five-foot sidewalk parallel to South Seventh Avenue (west of Ethridge Hall and the Rives Education Building); and replacement of the stairs adjacent to the Rives Educational Building.
The project is comprised of 859 feet of sidewalk space with handicap accessible curbing located at the Barber Hall parking lot and at South Seventh Avenue. Twelve pedestrian-scale lights will be installed along the sidewalks for safety purposes with added landscaping to beautify the area. Cross walk thermo-plastic stripping will be applied to West Broad Street cross walk and to the South Avenue Seventh Avenue cross walk.
Stewart stated work on the project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013 with estimated completion during the spring of 2014.