Shepherdstown officials are once are seeking grant funds that would enable the construction of a bike bath along Route 480. According to Recorder Lori Robertson, the town is seeking a Transportation Enhancement Grant that will help pave the way for a half-mile stretch of path along the west side of the highway from Lowe Drive to the stop light at Alternate Route 45.
Robertson explained that she had applied for the grant in 2009 after walking along the highway to attend Earth Day festivities at Morgan's Grove Park. The walk, she said, was very dangerous, to say the least.
The Transportation Enhancement grants are available to any county or municipality for things like bike paths or walking trails. There is a significant amount of competition for the funding and Shepherdstown was not selected to receive a grant with the initial application.
Robertson said that in conversations with former Delegate John Doyle and others, she was encouraged to submit the grant request again this year.
"We filed for an intent to apply and were approved to submit a formal application," Robertson said Wednesday.
The hope, she said, is to construct the path to offer a safer conduit along Route 480. The path would have to comply with strict guidelines set out by the State Department of Transportation, she explained. "It has to be an eight-food wide path with a five foot buffer of shoulder," she said. The lands upon which it would be constructed are all state-owned lands, she said.
"There is no residential land involved," she said. That fact would make the project easier to construct should the grant be awarded.
Robertson explained that the grant is a 20 percent match meaning that 80 percent of the funding for the project, which could range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, would come via the grant with the need to find the match.
As a representative of the Corporation, Robertson, along with others from the council as well as Matt Mullenax, GISP and Transportation Analyst with the Hagerstown Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization, will go before the Jefferson County Commission on Feb. 7 to seek their support for the project. Robertson explained that the Commission, in 2009, agreed to provide the financial match and she is hopeful the current Commission will as well.
Mullenax, Robertson said, has been invaluable in assisting with the grant application thus far.
"All of the land is in the county," Robertson said, even though the municipality is filing the grant application.
"It sure would be nice to get it (the path)," Robertson said. "It would sort of complete the loop that goes around from Route 45 to Alternate 45 and now 480."
Deadline for the grant application is March 15 and could take up to six months or more before notification of an award would come, Robertson said.