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City to install new sidewalks

POSTED June 21, 2011 9:44 p.m.

After years of neglect Turlock will address one of its residents’ biggest concerns – a lack of sidewalks in many older, lower-income areas of town.

Turlock allocated $120,000 in Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grants to install new sidewalks this year. It was the first time money had been set aside for sidewalks in the last four or five years, according to Turlock Real Estate and Housing Program Manager Maryn Pitt.

The allocation was driven by the city’s HUD Consolidated Plan, updated through a series of community meetings in 2010. During those meetings, and through community surveys, it came to the forefront that a lack of sidewalks was a major community concern.

The CDBG funding can only be spent in certain eligible census tracts. It can only be used to install new sidewalks, not to repair existing sidewalks.

Pitt gave a few examples of potential sidewalk locations – including, perhaps, the unpaved sidewalks near Osborn School – but noted that no decisions had been made on how the money would be spent.

“We’re in the process of working with Public Facilities to identify a strategy about what we’re going to do,” Pitt said.

The City of Turlock will likely attempt to leverage the funding against Americans with Disabilities Act funding and other grants to obtain the biggest possible “bang for their buck,” Pitt said.

“It’s a difficult situation, just like with potholes,” Pitt said. “We’re trying to do our best, with limited revenue, to try to address needs the community thinks are important.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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