The Town of Greeneville will be seeking state funding soon for possible projects that could help those getting around on foot.

The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday authorized the town to apply for a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

That grant program provided more than $1 million in resources for the Walters State Community College project that included building new sidewalks and moving a crosswalk on Main Street.

The deadline for application is in early October, and the state has awarded $1.2 million grants in the past, Town Engineer and Public Works Director Brad Peters told the board. The grant requires a 20% local match if approved.

Possible projects for the grant funding include sidewalk and crosswalk improvements or creating a greenway, Peters said.

One of the projects that could be funded by the grant involves replacing the sidewalks with brick pavers on Main Street with concrete ones similar to those around the new Walters State building. Although many people like the brick pavers, they are difficult to maintain, he said.

Another project suggested is the construction of a sidewalk along Bernard Avenue from the intersection at Church Street to the one at McKee Street. Peters said the department has had more requests about building a sidewalk along that stretch of street than any other in the town.

However, he continued, a new sidewalk along Bernard Avenue would be a difficult project due to limited right-of-way, the topography that would limit its placement and the need to move a power line.

Upgrading crosswalks downtown to meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards was another project suggestion. Although improvements at some crosswalks were made not too many years ago, the crosswalks do not meet the current ADA standards, Peters explained.

The curb cuts at the crosswalks need to be enlarged and signalization placed at each crosswalk that displays a second count and an audible alarm to alert pedestrians that the signal is about to change, he said.

Another suggested project is the creation of a greenway at the new W.T. Daniels Park, which features a dog park and a frisbee golf course.

REZONING CONSIDERED

In other business, the board approved first reading of the rezoning of property on Loretta Street near Highland Elementary School from M-2 high impact industrial to R-2 medium density residential. A second reading is required for final approval.

The area was identified several years ago during discussions of the town’s 20-year comprehensive plan as an area that needed to be rezoned because its designation did not match current use, explained Building Official Bert Seay.

The area is near facilities that were part of the Austin Company many years ago and may have been zoned industrial due to its proximity, Seay said.

However, residential uses are not allowed within the M-2 zones, and property owners can encounter difficulties when they seek financial assistance in making improvements to their homes or building new houses, he explained.

The town has initiated the rezoning since it was identified as an area that needed to be addressed during the comprehensive plan development, Seay said.

Letters were sent to all the property owners within the affected area as well as owners of surrounding properties about the proposed rezoning, and no one has called thus far to question or make a comment about it, he said.

The board also approved the rental of a milling machine to be used in upcoming street paving projects by the Public Works Department.

On streets with curbing and stormwater drains, the roadway can be repaved a few times, but has to be milled for a new coat of asphalt to be applied once the pavement level nears the height of the curbing, Peters explained.

In the past, the department has bid out the milling work to an outside contractor, but in investigating costs of milling machine rentals, it is more economical for the department to rent a machine to do the work, he said.

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