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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

City applying to State Aid Street Program

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The city of Blytheville is applying for a $3.1 million street project on Byrum Road and Elm Street through the new State Aid Street Program.

Tuesday night, during a special meeting, the Blytheville City Council voted unanimously to request the project aimed at addressing safety concerns, particularly with area being in a school zone.

The city hopes to capitalize on the State Aid Street Program, part of Amendment 1 that passed last year as an additional funding source for highway projects as well as street work for counties and municipalities. State Aid Street funds are set aside to pay for special projects for municipalities, and they are in addition to other Amendment 1 funding. Blytheville is expected to received about $278,225 a year in additional street turnback funds and $2,782,247 total during the 10-year life of the 1/2-cent tax created by Amendment 1.

The proposed State Aid Street project calls for improvements to Byrum Road and Elm Street to Ash Street, including adding curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

"It would be from Division to Byrum Road," Mayor James Sanders said. "It would take care of all of Byrum Road until it connected to Elm Street, and then Elm Street connecting to Ash Street."

Sanders said Highway Department officials have already looked at the area.

"They say it's a good project for what they're actually looking for," he said.

The mayor noted though, there are no guarantees the state will pick Blytheville's project over others which are applying for State Aid funding. A state board will meet Thursday to discuss the proposals.

Sanders said the city would not be out any money for the project if it is approved.

Last year, Blytheville, like several other Arkansas cities, unsuccessfully sought a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, which would have been used for the Byrum Road and Elm project.

The federal grant required that the road work be connected to state or U.S. highways.

"It was based on safety and connecting two four-lane highways together also," Councilman Stan Parks said.

City officials are hoping this time they are successful in getting the project funded.

mbrasfield@couriernews.net

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