The Transportation Advisory Board of the Greater Hickory Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) awarded $10,002,360 in funding to seven new bicycle and pedestrian projects sponsored by five area local governments. This year's project sponsors included Burke County and the Cities of Claremont, Conover, Hickory and Newton. The funding source is federal Surface Transportation Block Grant Direct Apportionment (STBG-DA), for which the four-county region receives $3.5 million annually. Bicycle and pedestrian projects are encouraged through the Local Administered Project Program administered by Greater Hickory MPO.
Newly awarded projects include 1) closing a gap of the Fauta Flora Trail over Linville Dam in Burke County, 2) new sidewalks in Claremont along Centennial Boulevard and Main Street, 3) new pedestrian walk signals and mast arms at the five-points intersection in downtown Conover, 4) new Book Walk multi-use path between City Walk and Ridgeview Library in Hickory, 5) new Book Walk South multi-use path between Ridgeview Library and Walmart Neighborhood Market in Hickory, 6) new River Walk off-road path from Old Lenoir Road to Rosales Bridge on Lake Hickory, and 7) supplemental funding for new bicycle lanes and sidewalks along A Street in downtown Newton.
WPCOG Executive Director Anthony Starr said, "These projects provide valuable improvements to our communities and the Western Piedmont Region. Our recently published Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) highlights the importance of making our communities attractive and enjoyable places to live and work. These projects help attract new businesses and residents to our region and advance our local economy."
The list of projects are available at www.wpcog.org/local-admin-project-program.
The Great Hickory MPO is administered by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments and is a partnership between local and state government to make decisions about transportation planning in urbanized areas and to meet planning requirements established by the federal funding for transportation. The Greater Hickory MPO serves all 28 local governments in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties.