Van Buren, Crawford County Receive Grants For Downtown Projects, Park Improvements

VAN BUREN, Ark. (TB&P) — Van Buren has received a $492,000 boost for its downtown streetscape project thanks to a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

The 80/20 split granted the state provides includes federal funds. It will be used to improve sidewalks and add landscaping and new irrigation and electrical making downtown more walkable, said Van Buren Mayor Joe Hurst.

 

“We’re trying to beautify part of the area,” Hurst said. “We’ve had a plan put together for a few years, so we were really excited to receive this grant.”

Specifically, the project will look at enhancements on a portion of Main Street in downtown Van Buren to add other areas as well, Hurst said. The city’s streetscape plan continues the whole downtown development project the city has been working on over the past few years.

“We’ve received so much attention to our downtown these days with new restaurants, new businesses, and parks that we’ve built from tax payers investments. It’s been really amazing. It’s really kind of stimulated the growth downtown and we just really want to continue doing that. Knowing that we have limited funds to have almost $500,000 to go to this is amazing,” he said.

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) provides funding for programs and projects defined as “transportation alternatives” for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized forms of transportation. It was authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a press release from ARDot said. Projects eligible for program funding include “the construction of on-road and off-road trail facilities that include sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle signals, lighting and other safety-related infrastructure. Conversion of abandoned railroad corridors for pedestrian and bicycle trails is also eligible,” the release said.

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