CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Grants totaling more than $9 million for a variety of recreational trail, streetscape and sidewalk projects across the state were announced Monday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
The 22 projects receiving a total of $1.2 million in Recreational Trails Program grants ranged from a $22,500 handicap-accessible upgrade of half-mile Whispering Spruce Trail at the summit of Spruce Knob, West Virginia's highest peak, to $240,000 to support motorized trail use at six Hatfield-McCoy Trail systems.
More than $7 million in Transportation Enhancement Grants were awarded to 36 projects across the state to pay for streetscape, historic preservation and tourism development projects. Those grants ranged from a $529,668 award to the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority for its Washington Street West Streetscape project, to $50,000 to conduct a coal heritage survey in McDowell and Raleigh counties.
Eight school crossing and sidewalk projects totaling more than $800,000 were funded through the West Virginia Safe Routes to School program. They included awards of $130,000 each to Rainelle Elementary School's Sumac Lane Sidewalk Corridor and the Walk & Bike Safe project serving Charleston's Piedmont Elementary School.
Federal Highway Administration funds make up 80 percent of the Recreational Trails and Transportation Enhancement grants and cover 100 percent of the cost of Safe Routes to School projects. The projects are administered by the state Department of Transportation.
"This year, we had some great projects, but we had requests for twice as much money as we received," Tomblin said immediately before announcing the grants.
Three of the Recreational Trails Program grants went to projects on land administered by the U.S. Forest Service. Monongahela National Forest projects included the Whispering Spruce Trail upgrade in Pendleton County, plus $70,500 in improvements to the Gateway and Fork Mountain trails in Nicholas County. In the Jefferson National Forest in Monroe County, a $41,760 grant will improve signage and pay for a new bridge crossing Crosier Branch along the Potts Valley Rail Trail.
Other large grants announced Monday included Transportation Enhancement awards of $500,000 to continue work on Old Main Corridor connecting downtown Huntington to the Marshall University campus; $380,000 to the town of Bath's streetscape project in Morgan County; $360,000 for Alderson's Memorial Bridge understructure; $350,000 for Morgantown's Walnut Street Streetscape, and $300,000 each for Nitro's streetscape program and Lewisburg's U.S. 219 North sidewalk project.
Other Transportation Enhancement grants went to:
Boone County: Madison's Main Street Streetscape, $200,000
Brooke: Wellsburg's Charles Street Streetscape, $164,000
Brooke and Hancock: Panhandle Rail Trail Extension, $100,000
Cabell: Huntington's Heritage Station Revitalization, $38,400
Fayette: Oak Hill's Virginia Street sidewalk project, $80,000
Fayette and Greenbrier: Meadow River Rail Trail, $250,000
Grant: Town of Bayard sidewalks, $24,000
Greenbrier: Rainelle Streetscape, $240,000; Ronceverte Main Street Streetscape, $158,400
Harrison: Shinnston's Charles Street sidewalk project, $183,650; Lumberport's Jones Run Road, $168,000; Nutter Fort's sidewalk project, $8,000
Jackson: Ripley's South Court Street Revitalization, $154,800
Kanawha: St. Albans Streetscape, $245,000; Dunbar Downtown Streetscape, $278,208
Marion: Farmington Pedestrian Access, $80,000; Pleasant Valley sidewalks, $112,000; Barrackville-Mannington Trail, $280,000; White Hall's U.S. 250 sidewalk project, $90,000
Monongalia: Westover's Dunkard Avenue Sidewalk, $240,000
Preston: Terra Alta Trail amenities, $24,000