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Sidewalk headed to McConnell Sports Complex

By Staff
Mike Voss Contributing Editor
Rain and soggy ground conditions are slowing construction of the sidewalk that will run along Market Street from 15th Street to Airport Road, the entrance to the Warren Field Airport and the Susiegray Moore McConnell Memorial Sports Complex.
The concrete sidewalk, being built at a cost of $296,000, will be 6 feet wide on the west side of Market Street. The city is contributing $59,000 -- mostly in-kind contributions -- toward the project, with the state kicking in the remaining $237,000. In-kind work includes items such as labor, city staff planning time and other nonmonetary contributions that benefit a project.
The sidewalk will be just over a mile long.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department wrote the grant seeking state funding. The project is being built by the N.C. Department of Transportation, which awarded the project contract to a subcontractor. The city's Public Works Department is overseeing the project, because it's in the city and will require maintenance, at an estimated cost of about $10,000 a year.
Although the project is scheduled to be completed by April 30, recent inclement weather may result in the contractor's receiving an extension, according to city officials.
The sidewalk is designed for pedestrian use, Mobley explained. A bicycle path must be at least 8 feet wide and at least 12 feet from a street, he noted. The sidewalk will provide a "safe route" to and from the sports complex, Mobley said.
The state grant for the project comes from the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which provides enhancement funds for qualified projects, according to Mobley.
There was a question of whether the sidewalk should go on the east or west side of Market Street. The east side route would have required pedestrians to cross Market Street at some point to reach the sports complex, Mobley noted. Also, taking the sidewalk up the east side would have meant negotiating Oakdale Cemetery, he added.
NCDOT engineer Danny Taylor helped get the project going, Mobley said.
Taylor said the project is being built by David A. Johnson of Maysville. Wet conditions have slowed the construction, he added.
Gil Davis, who put together the city's grant application for the project, said the sidewalk venture dovetails with the city's master parks and recreation plan. The plan calls for a trail system to link all parks and recreation sites in the city. The Market Street sidewalk will become a part of that trail system, Davis explained.
But "it's going to take awhile to get there," Mobley added.