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Gainesville wants DOT grant to pay for MLK Boulevard improvements

POSTED: December 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.
TOM REED /The Times

Gainesville is applying for state aid to resurface all of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The project would smooth out patched areas such as this one near Chestnut Street.

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Gainesville officials are searching for another way to fund the restoration of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The city is applying for a grant of up to $750,000 from the state Department of Transportation to restore the road from end to end.

The City Council approved the grant application Tuesday.

Repairs on a portion of Martin Luther King Boulevard were pulled from a $617,000 citywide street resurfacing project in October, because the extensive repairs the street needed would have put the original project over budget, according to city officials.

At the time, Interim Public Works Director David Dockery said he was looking at a different funding source for the project.

Dockery came through on his word last week, telling the council that Martin Luther King Boulevard is a good candidate for the DOT’s 2010 State Aid Grant Program.

Through the program, the city may be able to rebuild the entire road — an expansion of the previously dropped plan to resurface a portion of the road from E.E. Butler Parkway to Chestnut Street.

The grant does not require the city to match the awarded funding and could pay for 100 percent of the road’s reconstruction up to $750,000. However, the city will be responsible for engineering costs.

The city will have to compete with transportation priorities of local governments in four other Congressional districts in North Georgia for the grant funding, according to a description of the aid program on the Georgia Municipal Association’s Web site.

The grant application approved Tuesday is due to the DOT by the end of the year.

The department is expected to make a decision on the grant application in the spring.



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