Last Friday, Selectman Vaughn Leach announced that Blue Hill has been awarded a $400,000 MaineDOT grant (with another $100,000 to come from local resources) to design and construct sidewalks along approximately 1,800 feet of South Street. The project is currently slated for funding and construction in 2021.
The project is part of a broader Sidewalks & Pathways Initiative, developed by local volunteers together with expert consultants retained with donated funds, to make Blue Hill more accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists, to improve safety—especially for schoolchildren— and to enhance connectivity between downtown locations to provide more healthful walking opportunities.
The Sidewalks & Pathways Initiative was the first project sponsored by BHCD, and BHCD board members have been active in continuing to push the concept forward.
The Town’s success in obtaining this grant and surmounting a critical hurdle is the result of the cooperation of many local individuals and businesses:
- Volunteers who invested hundreds of hours of their time to help frame, design and publicize the project;
- Almost 20 donors who contributed a total of $17,500 to fund professional engineering, design and cost estimation work for the Initiative and the project;
- Voters in the Town of Blue Hill, who overwhelmingly supported the commitment of $100,000 of Town funds as the required “local contribution” to the project at the 2017 Town Meeting; and
- The Blue Hill Select Board, who made the ultimate decision to apply for the MaineDOT grant on behalf of the Town.
Blue Hill Community Development and the other Sidewalks and Pathways Initiative leaders want to thank all of the above for their support. There remains much to do, including additional funding requirements, so you’ll be hearing more from the team in the near future!