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State grant to enable school district, city to construct sidewalks near schools

By Staff | Dec 8, 2008

A neighborhood in Cape Coral will soon have sidewalks thanks to a $122,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. The project to construct the sidewalks for student safety is a partnership between the city and the Lee County School District.
School districts and local municipalities work together to receive funding in the state’s Safe Routes to Schools Program that improves local infrastructure and makes public thoroughfares safer for children in elementary and middle school.
Overall, FDOT will present $194,000 for two sidewalk grants to Cape Coral and Fort Myers.
A sidewalk will be constructed on Southwest 38 Terrace from Oasis Boulevard to Agualinda Boulevard. In Fort Myers, a sidewalk will extend from Palm Beach Boulevard to Edgewood Avenue for students at the Edgewood Academy.
Construction on the projects will begin in 2010, according to the school district.
“That will affect a lot of children in the area,” said Sharon Tassoni, safety specialist for the West Zone. “We target sidewalks within two miles of the school.”
The Cape Coral sidewalk project will affect students at Gulf Elementary, Gulf Middle, the city of Cape Coral Charter School System and Ida S. Baker High, explained Tassoni.
“It connects a lot of kids travel from Oasis to the schools. It provides a safer route down 38th Terrace,” said Dawn Gordon, community development planner.
FDOT is hoping that the program will encourage pedestrian traffic, improve childhood health and community safety. It also fosters cooperation between school districts and municipalities.
“The school district and municipality have to work together to present it.
They have to come up with the cost sheet and estimated cost,” said Gordon. “The schools have to back it up and say yes we need it.”
The grant program has been active since August 2005 and Gordon said the Lee County School District began participating two years ago.
Furthermore, three other projects valued at $598,000 were not granted to the school district during this cycle.