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Eva gets grants for sidewalks

By Ronnie Thomas 340-2438

EVA — Eva is on the move.

First, came the sewer, and 36 residents and Eva School have hooked up since February.

Now sidewalks are coming to town in two phases.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, notified Mayor Gary Livingston that the Alabama Department of Transportation had announced the town's latest matching grant of $184,400 for sidewalks through federal transportation enhancement funds.

"It's an 80/20 match, the same as for the grant we got earlier for the first phase," said Councilman Jim Henderson, who began work toward acquiring the grants in January 2006.

He said that while a pre-engineering meeting hasn't been held for the second phase, he believes it will total about $225,000 with Eva paying about $45,000.

DOT previously announced a federal grant for $126,730 for the first phase of sidewalk work, the project totaling $158,413. Henderson said the town's share would be $31,683.

He said the first set of sidewalks will start at Eva School and run east to west, less than a mile along Morgan County 55 to the Eva Public Library. The second phase, he said, will go north and south on Eva Road, starting at the fire station and stretching about a mile to the ball park complex.

Henderson said the town had its pre-agreement meeting for the first phase with officials at DOT's district office in Guntersville on May 2.

"We have two years from that date to start construction, which will push us to 2008," he said. "I expect we'll start construction on the second phase no later than 2009."

Henderson said the delay will give town officials time to review budgets and get Eva's share of the work funded.

"With a limited budget for a small town like us, coming up with $40,000 is not an easy thing to do," he said.

Henderson said the town wanted to get the sewer in before starting work on sidewalks.

"In many cases, the sidewalks will run where the sewer runs, and we won't have to tear people's yards up again," he said.

He said the grants include only funds for sidewalk construction and not for the lighting.

"That will require other grants later," he said.

Livingston said while some might believe that sidewalks are a waste of money, he said he has never been through neighboring Fairview in Cullman County when " people weren't using their sidewalks for exercise and pushing babies in strollers. They get people off the road, and it's safer for everyone."

The mayor said residents use Eva's walking trail at the ballpark each day of the week and, "I expect our residents to take advantage of our sidewalks, too. People in town will take them to the park rather than drive."

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