Matthew Williams

The city of LaFayette is applying for a state grant to complete a walking trail that extends from the old LaFayette High School to the city’s Housing Authority.

The city council, during its Nov. 10 meeting, voted 5-0 to apply for the 2014 Georgia Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trails grant program.

The trail path is largely along Town Creek, said Main Street manager Matthew Williams. A small section of the trail can be seen at Depot Park on Patten Street.

Once the trail is constructed, it will consist of a nine-foot-wide concrete path that will be handicap-accessible and will also include park benches, lighting and signs.

LaFayette Rotary Club originally built the walking trail, but it was heavily damaged during the record flood of 2009.

“The flooding left portions of the trail virtually non-accessible, especially with the heavy damages to the multiple bridges,” Williams said.

This is an 80-percent reimbursement, 20-percent matching grant of up to $100,000.

“We are currently in the process of obtaining letters of commitment from organizations such as Rotary and the Housing Authority to assist with the project, if the grant is awarded,” Williams said. “The grant application is due on Nov. 26 and the winners will be announced in spring 2015. This is a reimbursement grant, and if awarded the city would have two years to complete the project for reimbursement.”

The city previously applied for this grant in 2012, but it was not awarded.

Williams said it’s a very competitive process.

“This year's grant program, however, has increased funding and we have a better chance of winning this grant opportunity for our community,” Williams said.

Grant applications are judged on a point basis that consists of accessibility above American Disability Act standards, signage (directional and interpretative), city financial commitment and environmental improvements, to name a few.

“It helps the application process that the city has already planned funding for the walking trail in the SPLOST package. The city has budgeted $100,000 of SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds for the walking trail project. If the city is able to obtain this grant opportunity, then the SPLOST funding would be put into other approved SPLOST projects,” Williams said.

“This section of the walking trail will extend from the Housing Authority to the (old) LaFayette High School football field, which is also a SPLOST project,” Williams said.

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