About 1/2 a mile of sidewalks will be added to streets near Blackhurst Elementary and Hardin Middle School in St. Charles in 2014, the city announced Tuesday.
St. Charles won a $250,000 federal Safe Routes to School grant, which will be used to improve sidewalks near the schools. This project is one of only three in the St. Louis area to receive funding from Safe Routes to School, city staff said.
Brad Temme, city project director, said the staff completed an assessment of the city's sidewalks and found that the area near Blackhurst and Hardin had among the worst sidewalks in the city.
Currently only Elm Street, which runs in front of the schools, has a sidewalk. This project will add sidewalks to West Adams and Boschert Drive, which run behind the schools.
Many parents and buses leave through the back of the school properties at the same time as students are heading home on foot, Assistant Superintendent Charles Brazeale said.
Of the 1,000 students who attend the two schools, about 50 walk to class on a given day. But about 200 students live within a mile of the school and are ineligible to ride the bus, which means they are likely being dropped off by car.
District leaders hope more might make a habit of walking to school if sidewalks were available.
"We've got the potential to increase the walkability of the neighborhoods between Hardin and Blackhurst and St. Charles High School," Brazeale said. "Oddly enough there never were sidewalks put in there."
Work on the project is expected to begin in 2014.
Discovery Elementary School Sidewalks
The city previously applied for Safe Routes to School funding to extend sidewalks along Mercantile Drive from Fox Hill Road to Discovery Elementary School in the Orchard Farm School District, but was denied.
Instead, the city decided to pay for the sidewalk upgrades with public works funds. On Tuesday, the city council approved a $166,784.73 contract with Midwest Mudjacking and Construction Co. for the project.
Work on the Mercantile Drive project is expected to begin in March.
What schools should have sidewalk improvement projects? Tell us in the comments.