Everyday, around 3 p.m., dozens of children from elementary to high school choose to bypass the bus rides and walk home from school.
Some are fortunate to live where they can walk home on city sidewalks, but most are not that lucky.
“We have so many kids walking on our downtown streets,” said City of Dawsonville Planning Director Steve Holder, who is currently awaiting a Georgia Department of Transportation grant, giving the city notice to proceed on a city sidewalk project.
“We’re anticipating that grant any time, hopefully within the next few weeks,” he said.
The city of Dawsonville embarked on a citywide sidewalk project in 2006 and has since completed three sections, sidewalks on Maple Street, Perimeter Road and on Hwy. 9, of a five-phase project.
City Administrator Kim Cornelison said the city is now ready to begin what she describes as the project’s most vital component — the sidewalk on Allen Street that will connect Perimeter Road to Academy Avenue.
“We have so many kids walking on these roads, and there are some areas that are just not fit for kids to walk on the sides of the road. Like today with the rain, they’re a mess,” she said.
High traffic and speed, she said, are also factors in moving forward with the project at this time. “They’re not safe roads,” Cornelison said, speaking to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners Thursday night.
In a letter dated Oct. 24 to the board, Dawsonville Mayor Joe Lane Cox requested the remaining $210,000 designated for the city sidewalk project, as outlined in an intergovernmental agreement between the city and county concerning sales tax funds.
The city and a prior county commission agreed that half a million dollars of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) IV funds would be allocated to cover city sidewalk projects.
The requested funds would enable the city to complete the sidewalk on Allen Street with a matching GDOT grant, as well as create sidewalks around the historic courthouse and west to the historic jail, Holder said.
“The urgency now is that we want to have the funds in place once we have notice to proceed from DOT. We have that window of opportunity to be ready to start,” he said.
Holder hopes to have the sidewalk project completed by next summer.
The county commissioners are expected to vote on the SPLOST sidewalk payment to the city during its 6 p.m. regular meeting Thursday in the G.L. Pete Gilleland Council Chambers at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.