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Home News-Telegram News City misses out on grant for walking trails

City misses out on grant for walking trails

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City Manager Marc Maxwell received word Tuesday from Texas Department of Transportation that the city was not selected to receive a grant that would have funded extensions to walking trails in the city.
    “We applied for a TxDoT grant that would have created a cross-town trail which would have linked Coleman Park to Buford Park to the high school and Civic Center and Dairy Museum and all the way downtown,” Maxwell said. “The downtown portion would have been something we would have completed on our own without the grant. But in the end, that’s what it would have accomplished it would have been gorgeous.”
    In an email to Maxwell Tuesday morning, TxDoT Paris District Engineer Sydney Newman said only one project in the district was funded, the West Paris Multi-Use Trail.
    “A far cry from the potential $2 million we had hoped for,” Newman wrote. “Apparently, we had some pretty tough competition among the 44 projects not selected by the MPOs. One unexpected factor was the large number of metropolitan area projects that got a second shot at funding for the remaining 50 percent of project funding evaluated by TEPEC. In other words, there was not $38 million available only to projects in the 17 rural districts.”
    This is not the first time smaller communities have lost out to metropolitan areas in grant programs.
    “It’s not uncommon for rural communities to get the short end of the stick. I’ve just never seen it done so brazenly before,” Maxwell said. “That’s because the metropolitan areas got a disporportionate share of the funding, they got two chances — two bites at the apple to get the grant.”
    Well ahead of applying for the grant, the City of Sulphur Springs already had a great match for the grant program, a cross-town trail that, the city manager felt should have scored very high in the application process.
    “This was a perfect match for the intent of the program,” Maxwell said. “Had everybody had one shot at the apple [grant], we would have a lot better chance but the way the whole deal was structured, it was structured so that if a city is located in a metropolitan area, they had double the chance and, of course, we’re not.”
    The TxDoT district engineer, in the same email, encouraged Maxwell and the city to continue to seek grants for projects such as this.
    “You all put a lot of effort into this process and proposed good projects, that are worth pursuing further planning and other sources of funding for their implementation,” Newman wrote.
    And, while disappointed, the Sulphur Springs city manager said the city would continue to work on the continuing projects in the community.




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