Lyndon awarded federal funding to construct safe routes to school

Students eagerly answer safety questions during a Safe Routes to School assembly at Lyndon Elementary-Middle School in May.

 

LYNDON – The city of Lyndon proved that community support can make a difference in the way the government works. The city was notified last week that its application for funding to build safe routes to school had been selected by the Kansas Department of Transportation, which will provide up to $200,000 for the 80/20 grant program.

Lyndon City Administrator Kim Newman reminded the Lyndon City Council Monday evening that the application process involved everyone in the town, including students, teachers and school staff and citizens, who were all enlisted to show support for the federally-funded Safe Routes to School program. She referred to the stacks of letters she had compiled and submitted to KDOT during the process.

Lyndon had previously been selected for funding in the amount of $15,000 under the Safe Routes to School program, which is administered by KDOT. The phase 1 funding provided for planning and engineering of safe school routes, and public awareness projects about making walking and bicycling to school safe, enjoyable and routine.

“It’s really incredible,” Newman told the council, noting the city had initiated the SRTS application process three years ago. “I’m really happy.”

Bruce Boettcher, of BG Consultants, the engineering firm working with Lyndon on SRTS, had reported in April that preliminary plans developed for the phase 2 funding application included improvements along U.S. Highway 75, improved sidewalk routes throughout town, and improved and safer crosswalks near Lyndon’s schools on Sixth Street.

Newman told the council the engineering firm deserved credit for the city’s grant selection.

“BG wrote this for us,” Newman said. “We did everything right, we did the program, worked with the school, we did all the pieces, but they wrote it.

“They really were our partner,” she said, specifically complimenting Boettcher.

Newman said Lyndon had competed for funding against 11 other Kansas towns, with only four to be funded.

She said the award tallied up $365,000 the city had obtained in grants in the past 12 months, referring also to grants awarded for the city’s Jones Park trail project that is almost completed.

“We’re doing something,” she said.

In the public awareness campaigns, the community was enlisted for to show support for the project, the city worked with the school district to hold safety assemblies and poster and essay contests, citizens and school staff made up a SFTS committee to provide input on the project, and walking school buses were organized to encourage students to walk to school.

Newman said that it would be months before any construction activity would begin. She said that further engineering would be required and utility and easement issues need to be addressed.

“We’ll talk about revisions before we go out to bid on the project,” she said.

In a letter from KDOT announcing Lyndon’s selection for SRTS, Becky Pepper, Kansas bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, said the federal portion of the funding will be 80 percent of the project construction and construction engineering costs, with a maximum amount of $200,000. The city is responsible for other construction and engineering costs, and right of way and utility costs.

Newman said some of the changes to be made to the preliminary plans include the inclusion of parking lots, which are not eligible to be funded under SRTS.

In making the final plans, the city will need “to make sure we’re including things that are getting matched by KDOT,” she said.

The letter from Pepper said the Bureau of Local Projects will administer the project and will be in contact with the city to begin the project.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas