Green River Star -

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By Lillian Palmer
Staff Writer 

Grant could pay for better access


Imagine trying to get from the house, to the grocery store, while being wheelchair-bound and with no vehicle.

The short trek from the home, down the street to pick up a prescription and groceries could potentially be a dangerous one. For those living in Rock Butte apartments on Bridger Drive. The sidewalk at the intersection on East Teton Boulevard and Bridger Drive has no wheelchair ramp to use to stay on the sidewalk. Instead, you are forced to drive your wheelchair scooter along the street until the next driveway entrance to the parking lot and hope no one drives into you.

This is exactly what some residents have to go through to get to the store or other staples of living in the area. The intersection mentioned is not the only one that poses a problem for residents either. There are many areas within Green River that pose a problem for citizens, not meeting the American’s with Disabilities Act. The East Teton and Bridger Drive intersection, West Teton and Crossbow, and West Teton and Cumorah Way are three major intersections that pose this problem not meeting ADA standards.

“We’ve been approached by some citizens to fix this problem,” Mark Westenskow, city engineer/utility manager said. “As I looked at this situation I realized very clear that she’s right, there are no ADA facilities in these locations, but they are frequented by folks who would benefit from those facilities.”

Westenskow realized this is a problem that merits fixing.

“Those folks aught to be able to be separated from the traffic,” Westenskow said. “The citizens asked where I could find some funds to fix it.”

He looked and found.

This year, the city is applying for The Transportation Alternative Program grant, through the Wyoming Department of Transportation. This grant fits this need perfectly because the grant is specifically for non-vehicular transportation issues. It will be a very competitive process, applying for the grant, Westenskow said. There will be a dozen other communities applying for the grant as well. When the state receives all of the applications, WYDOT will make project location inspections and make staff recommendations to the Wyoming Transportation Commission. The commission will make the final decision as to who receives the grant. The grant is an 80/20 deal. The state will cover up to 80 percent of the project cost.

“That’s a really good percentage,” Westenskow said. “Thats a really good portion. It’s a way for us to leverage our local dollars to get more work done than we would otherwise.”

The project cost is estimated at $175,000; $35,000 will be the city’s match and $140,000 is the amount requested from the state. The application process and results will be presented in the fall of 2015. If the project goes through, the construction will commence in 2016 or 2017. If they receive partial grant coverage, they will have to scale the project back and try for it again next year. The grant, no matter the size would aid in the completion of the projects.

“This is a way to get these areas in compliance with the ADA,” Westenskow said. “There is no guarantee we will get these funds but it is an opportunity for us to try to get funding and get this to leverage our local dollars and make them go further.”


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