City to apply for grant to extend bikeways
Walkers, joggers and bikers may soon have another section of the path along the river to connect them to the downtown area, with a second project to provide an additional link for a pathway on the south side of the city.
Wednesday, the Yuma City Council approved an application for a federal grant to help fund the two multiuse pathway connections.
The application seeks $1.5 million through the Transportation Enhancement grant program. The local match of $100,472 would be funded in part from the city's 2 percent hospitality tax and in part from road tax funds.
“This helps complete a couple of important trail loops,” said Charles Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area that oversees the city's pathway system.
The plan for the National Heritage Area, adopted in 2002, included the development of a shared-use pathway to help people travel between the East Wetlands and the historic downtown and riverfront districts. In 2010, the council authorized the application for funding to expand the system to connect Gateway Park to the East Wetlands.
The newest project will connect that pathway section to the downtown area, Flynn said. It also will include some beautification of the access road to Prison Hill.
As for the planned new loop on the south side of the city, it would include a multiuse path connection from Avenue A to the East Main Canal pathway on the 40th Street alignment, providing a connection to the James P. Deyo sports complex, Flynn said. It would tie into the Avenue A widening project between 32nd and 36th streets, for which the design has been completed.
Flynn said that over the past 10 years, the federal grant program has funded about 90 percent of the cost of developing the bikeway system throughout the city.
In other business Wednesday, the council approved travel by Councilman Ed Thomas to the Newly Elected Officials Training sponsored by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns June 1-2 in Litchfield Park. Also approved was travel by Mayor Al Krieger to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns executive committee meeting May 11 in Phoenix.
Krieger noted that the league reimburses the city for the travel costs for that meeting.
On another agenda item, Councilman Paul Johnson said he had received a number of emails questioning the city's application for a Transportation Enhancement grant of $800,000 to landscape the Interstate 8-16th Street interchange.
Johnson said the emails had suggested that the money be returned to help pay down the federal debt.
However, he said, if the city rejected the grant, the money would be distributed to another city rather than being returned to the federal government, “so there would be no savings to taxpayers. But it would bring almost $1 million in construction work to the city for unemployed workers.”
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSJoyceLobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.