The city of Berea was awarded a grant in the amount of $279,950 by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to help reconstruct a biking and pedestrian trail on the north side of Ellipse Street.

Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley said that the project, totaling $349,800, will replace the existing sidewalk from Walnut Meadow Street to Laurel Drive, tying in the Artisan Trail along Walnut Meadow road to merge with the other shared-use trails on U.S. 25.

“There is an existing sidewalk, which has been there since — well as long as I can remember — I used to walk that sidewalk to my parents' furniture store when I was young,” Fraley said.

The Ellipse Street project is one of 42 transformative community projects statewide that is being funded through a $16.6 million investment through the commonwealth’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), according to a press release from KYTC.

“We are grateful for this significant federal TAP investment to benefit communities,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “Funds from this program enable local communities to implement important transportation projects that increase connectivity for diverse populations, such as non-driving and disabled Kentuckians.”

TAP is a federal reimbursement program administered through the Office of Local Programs in the KYTC’s Department of Rural and Municipal Aid to support safe connections and accessibility primarily through sidewalk improvements for the general pedestrian, children and disabled people.

The grant funds 80% of the total project costs with a 20% match from the municipality making Berea responsible for $69,850.

Fraley said the path will be similar to others around town, such as the Indian Fort Trail becoming a wider, asphalt shared-use path.

“(The project) was recommended since it is a shared-used access path and is important because it is a walking and biking route used by students to get to the Berea Community Schools, so this will make the travel safer for them,” he said.

State Rep. Deanna Frazier, R-Richmond, announced that the grants were awarded, but no official notification of approval for the project has been received from the governor’s office, according to Fraley. However, he said, approval is expected at any time.

Once approval is given, the design phase would begin, and Fraley said he hopes construction starts as soon as possible.

“I’m really excited that the state is approving this, and I think this is needed to link the two shared-use trails together,” he said. “I am really eager to get started.”

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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