MARQUETTE - The Marquette City Commission this week authorized the city to move forward with the construction of sidewalks leading to Bothwell Middle School.
The sidewalks - they will be created using funds from the Michigan Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School grant program - will run along the south side of Mesnard Street, between Tierney and Altamont streets. From there, it will course north along the west side of Altamont for about a block.
City commissioners expressed approval for the project and voiced interest in eventually expanding the scope of sidewalks in south Marquette.
"I think the bottom line is we need this project," Commissioner Don Ryan said. "We need an opportunity for kids to be able to walk to school safely and I'd like to take it beyond that. Not that we can do anything tonight, but I hope that this commission can see that we construct that sidewalk on Altamont Street all the way from the overpass to Craig Street. I think we've got to do that."
The other commissioners praised the project and voiced concern about children walking to school in that area without sidewalks.
The grant includes almost $175,000 for infrastructure work and $6,500 for educational and safety materials, as well some walking- and biking-related programming. The construction portion of the project is slated to begin in the spring.
Bothwell Middle School assistant principal Dan Gannon thanked the commission for the support for the project. The school, he said, is attempting to highlight more physical activities for students, including walk-to-school days.
"We're walking up that hill with a pretty big crew, and I got a little scared when I saw the number coming up the hill," he said.
Anything that could be done to make that trek safer would be more than welcome, Gannon said.
The commission voted 6-0 to direct the city to enter into a contract with MDOT. Commissioner David Saint-Onge was not at the meeting.
In other action, the city commission:
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