BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — A new grant award of $213,623 will help the City of Buckhannon extend ADA-accessible sidewalks westward along Main Street and beyond to the neighborhoods of Riley Heights and toward Leggitt Addition.
Residents of these communities will soon have a safer way to walk to downtown shops, restaurants and services. Likewise, residents and visitors from eastern Buckhannon will be able to reach those communities and the many businesses along the route while traveling on foot.
The grant award through the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Recreational Trails and Transportation Alternatives Program will also provide period lighting for the new sidewalks, increasing visibility and safety at night.
This project will improve access to multiple sites with historic significance: a pre-Civil War church (currently houses the Upshur County Historical Society Museum), the site of a Civil War raid, and the site of the Elizabeth Copeland Memorial Hospital.
Jay Hollen, city engineer and project leader; Jerry Arnold, public works director; and Callie Cronin Sams, information coordinator and grant writer, traveled to a grant announcement in Morgantown on Monday organized by Governor Jim Justice’s office to accept the award.
Mayor David McCauley enthused, “We are always looking to expand our pedestrian friendliness and make Buckhannon more walkable. The more walkable as a community we become, the healthier our residents shall be.
“Additionally, there will be tremendous aesthetic appeal to being able to depart the highway at the first Buckhannon exit coming from the west, and then experience an amazing mile of ‘complete streets’ including excellent sidewalks and period lighting replete with our seasonal banners from our westernmost boundary to our beautiful college.
“Completion of our Gateway West project will be a real game-changer in attracting even more business to our city, and making Buckhannon even more distinctive and appealing to all.”
While in Morgantown, the city also received the official presentation of the $50,000 REAP recycling grant award. Jeff Wamsley, Waste Department Supervisor; Arnold; Nathan Fetty, Waste Board Member; Hollen; and Sams accepted the award on the city’s behalf.
The awards were presented by Ed Maguire, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Advocate. The City of Buckhannon was one of 18 grantees recognized during the awards ceremony, which included funding awards through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia Department of Transportation.