Athens is getting applying for a grant that would improve a busy stretch of E. Tyler Street for pedestrians.

On Monday, the city council passed a resolution supporting an application for the Texas Department of Transportations' 2019 Transportation Alternatives Set Aside/Safe Routes to School-Infrastructure call for projects.

"The scope of this would be to install six-feet-wide sidewalks from downtown to the Walmart area," City Manager Elizabeth Borstad said.

Borstad said there has been a significant increase in pedestrian traffic in that area. There are now dirt trails in some stretches along the way.

"This would fill in those gaps and also in the places where it is four feet, make it six feet," Borstad said. "And then it would provide accessible crossings at your traffic signals, accessible ramps and anything else that is needed to provide clear access."

The work would cost about $1.5 million, Borstad said. Athens would have to put up a 20 percent match.

The state hasn't set aside any funds for the grant as yet. A few years ago, the city discussed a similar grant, but did not apply for the grant.

"It basically would allow us to submit the application, get our project in line with probably about 100 other projects in this part of the state and hopefully, over the next few years, get moved up and become a project for TxDOT.

The grant is for projects like bicycle trails, walking trails, sidewalks and any construction projects for pedestrian safety.

"We looked at this in the past, but never did proceed because we really weren't prepared at the time for what it would take," Mayor Monte Montgomery said. "Mrs. Borstad has reviewed it. To me it's well worth the effort. Mrs. Borstad has been successful in grant applications."

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