In the near future, residents may not see as many children on the side of the streets walking to school.



Instead, some of them will have new sidewalks to walk on as they travel to Chillicothe Elementary Center.


In the near future, residents may not see as many children on the side of the streets walking to school.

Instead, some of them will have new sidewalks to walk on as they travel to Chillicothe Elementary Center.

Chillicothe is one of the communities receiving federal funding through the Safe Routes to School program.

Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced $21.7 million worth of projects slated for Illinois communities. The Illinois Department of Transportation administers the funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.

Chillicothe received two grants — one for $200,000 to either replace, construct or repair sidewalks, and another $7,000 for bicycle parking, all for CEC.

City Engineer Ken Coulter said at a press conference Monday the money will pay for about 36,000 square feet of sidewalks, which must be at least 4 to 5 feet wide.

The sidewalks will be mainly on Cutright Street from Truitt Avenue south and on  Hoyt Street from Truitt Avenue north. Most of the area, he said, does not currently have sidewalks.

“We plan to apply for it every year because we have nothing to lose,” said Chillicothe Economic Development Director Rachael Parker.

Alderman Denny Gould said the grant is specifically for children not in high school.

“It’s an ongoing program done every year. We could apply and get another grant if we’re successful with this one,” said Gould. South School may be another school that could benefit from funding like this, he added.

Coulter said there is not a deadline for the work to be done but anticipated, at the very latest, work could be completed in the construction season of 2013.

Parker’s predecessor, Greg Truninger, got the ball rolling on the grant, and Coulter said one of the things students said they could use would be more bike racks, which will include concrete work.

Another part of the grant is educating students on safely traveling to school and evaluating the results.

The city and Illinois Valley Central District 321 are joining efforts for the improvement, and Coulter said the education component will be at the school.

“We are very fortunate to receive a sidewalk grant,” said Mayor Troy Childers Sr., who also thanked U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria.

Sidewalks are a part of city infrastructure the city funds each year through the sidewalk program. Aldermen usually
earmark about $20,000 to assist homeowners in keeping up their sidewalks through a grant process.

Childers said the grant “enhances” the city’s current sidewalk program.