“Patience is a virtue,” said grant consultant Doug Hylton during a project update report to the Lewisburg City Council on Dec. 19.
Referring to several grant applications for sidewalks and trails within the city boundaries, he said, “I always like to say by the time we build these trails, I’ll be too old to walk on them.” After the announcements, and checks are awarded, and the bureaucratic process slowly crawls through endless stages of paperwork, sometimes taking years, the reward of finished results will be realized. Hylton assures us, it will happen.
Lewisburg has six sidewalk and trail projects in various stages of completion, funded through 10 grants totaling over $1.5 million. According to a press interview, Hylton said the sidewalks and recreational trails fall under two different categories: under the direction of the Division of Highways (DOH), sidewalks have to meet specific design specifications, while recreational trails are allowed more flexibility in their designs.
At the meeting, Hylton officially announced a $60,000 sidewalk project to connect Route 60 (Washington Street) to East Randolph Street via Lafayette Street, giving pedestrians access to businesses along Randolph Street without having to walk in the street.
Phase II of the ongoing Hwy. 219 North sidewalk project will extend from Lee Street to the Rosewood Cemetery. Phase III will then complete the project with the sidewalk extension ending at the Walmart parking lot. The two phases combined will total approximately $600,000. A third sidewalk project will connect Dorie Miller Park to North Court Street via Feamster Road with grant funds totaling $388,800. A fourth sidewalk project is planned for Hwy 219 from Foster Street to Austin Street funded by a $260,000 grant.
There are two grant-funded recreational trails. The first is the L&R Trail, which, when completed, will extend to the Greenbrier Valley Mall. Currently the Trail begins at the intersection of Foster and South Court streets, then cuts through the Graham Addition and ends at Frazier Street. Two $48,000 grants will fund its extension to the intersection of Hwy. 219 and Holt Lane. The city of Lewisburg’s final leg of the L&R Trail will extend as far as the Greenbrier Valley Mall entrance. Additional grants for that portion of the project have been applied for, but none have been awarded to date.
The other planned recreational trail will connect the Lewisburg Elementary School to the Greenbrier County Public Library via the wooded hill area surrounding the Confederate Cemetery, as a part of the Safe Routes To School project, and it is funded by two $100,000 grants.
Hylton said some of these projects are nearly ready to go to bid for construction, while others are still in the earliest stages of grant processing. Mayor John Manchester, upon hearing Hylton’s report, said, “We go about our business, and we have big announcements and big checks, and everyone gets all excited about a project, [and] then we do wait.”