|Grant application process for community improvement advances|
A major component of a proposed grant application process is a pedestrian bridge on Route 40 West. The Sheriff Shively bridge currently is too narrow to provide a safe walking lane for pedestrians, who must cross it to reach several Ferrum businesses.
Friday, August 23, 2013
By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer
The process of completing a grant application related to obtaining about $1 million for several projects in Ferrum is moving quickly along.
That's the message consultant and project manager Bonnie Johnson delivered to the Franklin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
The process began in June when the county agreed to partner with Ferrum College and the Ferrum Water Authority for the total cost of about $10,000 for the initial grant application.
Part of that cost was to hire a project manager and Johnson was selected competitively.
If approved, the grant would be for $30,000 and that, along with $20,000 in other funding from the county, college and authority, would be enough to complete all the work necessary to apply for the much larger Community Development Block Grant planning grant.
Application for that $1 million grant must be submitted by the end of March 2014.
The anticipated components of the project include a pedestrian bridge over the railroad in Ferrum (on Route 40 West); water/sewer improvements with the replacement of a water line that now runs under the railroad; sidewalks and crosswalks; downtown (Old Ferrum) improvements; and possibly housing rehabilitation.
Johnson said many of the initial steps for the first grant application have either been completed or ongoing, including community meetings, talks with Ferrum businesses, a mail survey and meetings with the college and water authority.
One of the major expenses and topics of conversation has been the pedestrian bridge, she said.
"All are very interested in the pedestrian bridge," she said.
That bridge currently is too narrow to provide a safe walking lane for pedestrians, who must cross it reach several Ferrum businesses.
Johnson said Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton gave her accident statistics for the bridge for the past nine and a half years. On average, she said, the site sees three vehicular accidents per year, one with injuries and two without injuries.
"So we know we have a safety issue here," she said.
Johnson said county Administrator Rick Huff is continuing the work of putting together the grant application "so we can finalize the requirements for the application and move forward."
Blue Ridge District Supervisor Bobby Thompson praised Johnson for her work, calling her "amazing" and "tenacious."