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Fort Oglethorpe eyeing grants to upgrade pedestrian safety and water testing

May 3, 2017 GMT

The city of Fort Oglethorpe is looking at grants to help with pedestrian safety at intersections and with testing of the city’s water.

During the most recent city council meeting on Monday night, April 24, the council approved Public Works and Recreation Director Jeff Long’s request to apply for a Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) to help with public safety.

According to City Manager Jennifer Payne-Simpkins, the grant funds, if awarded, would help with public safety at three intersections in the city.

“It’s a competitive improvement grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) off-system safety program,” Payne-Simpkins said. “Our grant application will request funding for solar LED flashing pedestrian crossing signs with thermo plastic stripping at three crosswalks at three intersections.”

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The intersections proposed are Forrest Road at Shelby Street, Van Cleve Street at Norris Street, and City Hall Drive at Council Street.

The grant also includes an additional four miles worth of thermo plastic stripping for double center lines and edge lines along Forrest Road, Van Cleve Street, Patterson Avenue, and Mack Smith Road.

Payne-Simpkins says grants such as this can go a long way in upgrading the city’s public safety measures.

“The GDOT recently released this grant opportunity targeted toward safety improvements on local roads,” Payne-Simpkins said. “Off-system roads account for approximately 45 percent of motor vehicle fatalities in Georgia and, as a result of House Bill 170, the state’s LMIG program received additional funding from the 2017 supplemental budget. District 6, which we’re a part of, received approximately $1.5 million for these types of projects.”

The proposed cost of the work is $61,700, and would involved the city paying a 30-percent ($18,510) match per the structure of the grant.

The application has to be submitted by the end of April, and Payne-Simpkins says the city should hear back relatively quickly.

“We expect to hear something soon and if we get it, the work would get underway quickly also,” she said.

“As the municipality, we have to agree to have all the work under contract by the end of 2017 if awarded. We’re excited ... with the solar LED crossing signs. It’s low maintenance from our end. Projects like this are always a matter of funding, so when opportunities like this pop up, we want to try to take advantage of them.”

While the city is getting the LMIG grant processed, it already received a water loss technical assistance grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).

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The grant includes the city coordinating with technicians from Smart Water Analytics to gather data about the city’s water system and testing.

“Over the coming weeks we’ll be working with them to gather data about our water, and when completed, we’ll get a technical report and recommendations on different capital projects,” PayneSimpkins said. “It’s helpful for us because otherwise we’d have to pay for this type of testing. Their tech assistance has been helpful to the city in years past.”

On October 21, 2013, the city received a technical assistance grant to check its big water meters. As a result, the city was able to repair or replace meters that needed repair per the study.

The following year, on October 6, 2014, the city received a technical assistance grant for leak detection and was able to repair various leaks per the study.

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