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Wildwood to seek federal funding for Old Manchester Road shared use path


Wildwood’s City Council, on June 12, approved a resolution to apply for federal funds to help with a planned Old Manchester Road shared use path project in the Pond neighborhood.

Plans are for the local match to be $575,000, with the federal funding, if received, going toward the rest of the $1,150,000 project cost. A $2,250 application fee would be refunded if the grant application isn’t successful.

Rick Brown, Wildwood’s director of public works, had told the council that the East-West Gateway Council of Governments is accepting applications for federal Transportation Alternatives Program [TAP] projects. TAP provides funding for a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects, such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and safe routes to school projects, he said.

Old Manchester Road in front of Pond Elementary, the site of a proposed sidewalk project. [Jessica Meszaros photo]

For this funding round, about $8.5 million is available in Missouri, with the design for approved projects to take place in 2018, right-of-way acquisition in 2019 and construction in 2020, Brown said. The city is proposing a shared use path – originally the plan was for a sidewalk – and lighting along the south side of Old Manchester from Hwy. 109 to Pond Road. The project would help make a connection between sidewalks already constructed east of Hwy. 109 to Pond Elementary and make a connection to the existing sidewalk west of Pond Road, according to Brown.

The project also could improve school safety by connecting sidewalks to on-street parking, lighting and an improved crosswalk at Pond Elementary. Finally, assuming that the Ackerley Place subdivision proposal moves forward, the project would construct a path that would connect Pond Elementary to the planned extension of Main Street, Brown said. The project also could aid students who are walking to Wildwood Middle.

Brown recommended a 50 percent match for the project to improve the city’s chances of getting the federal funds.

In response to a request from Councilmember Larry McGowen [Ward 1], who said people regularly park on the road shoulder for Pond school events, which can make it dangerous for children to navigate, Brown said that the path can be designed to eventually accommodate some on-street parking.

Councilmember Larry Goodson [Ward 8] suggested the city look at bike, as well as pedestrian, access in that area – also to help children get to school.

Both suggestions were considered in the shared use plan, resulting in a higher cost of $800,000 to $900,000.

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