Grants to fund major sidewalk projects
Over the past five years, the city of Cape Coral has received more than $5 million in state and federal grants for the construction of new sidewalks.
And the next dime it pays for them out of its general fund will be the first.
At its April 16 regular meeting, the City Council approved two agreements for sidewalk projects in the north Cape, both of which are funded through grants awarded by the Florida Department of Transportation.
The sidewalks will be installed on both sides of Andalusia Boulevard between Pine Island Road and Diplomat Parkway and on the south side of Tropicana Parkway from Burnt Store Road to Chiquita Boulevard.
Connie Barron, the city’s pubic information director, said the city usually gets grants in two parts, for the design of the sidewalk, then for the actual construction.
Barron said these grants have essentially built the sidewalk program for the city.
“We’ve been very successful in applying for and receiving grant dollars for sidewalks. We have a great group of people in Public Works who work on these,” Barron said. “All of our construction is done using grant funds.”
Barron said the focus areas for grant money are around schools and at some of the higher traffic areas. There is a five-year sidewalk plan the city follows, which is available online for people to look at and see where the sidewalks are coming next.
“We’re trying to get sidewalks on the main thoroughfares as well as around the schools,” Barron said. “We prioritize our projects and have a good plan in place so when we request that money we’re very successful.”
In 2015, staff applied for an FDOT grant to design and construct sidewalks on both sides of Andalusia Boulevard. FDOT awarded the city $125,000 for design and $1.4 million for sidewalk construction.
Construction of this project is expected to begin in FY 2023.
The city previously received FDOT funding to construct sidewalks connecting Diplomat schools to the sidewalks that will be constructed on Andalusia Boulevard.
In 2012, staff applied for an FDOT grant to construct sidewalks on the south side of Tropicana Parkway. FDOT awarded Cape Coral $487,081 for sidewalk construction.
Construction of this project is expected to begin next year.
The city was previously awarded FDOT funding to construct sidewalks on Tropicana Parkway from Chiquita to Santa Barbara boulevards.
Councilmember Rick Williams said he’s been working for years to get sidewalks and is happy that is finally about to happen.
“We’ve been working for this since before I got onto council. I could never understand why we had all those schools up there and no sidewalks,” Williams said. “We work hard to get these grants. We don’t have a lot of roads needs, but we need sidewalks.”