By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The City of Keizer will issue letters of support for two projects to improve pedestrian access around Kennedy and Cummings elementary schools.

The letters will be submitted along with projects proposals to the Safe Routes for Schools National Partnership. The council approved the request from the  Keizer Traffic Safety, Pedestrian and Bikeways (TPB) Committee at its Aug. 20 meeting.

Members of the TPB Committee have haggled over whether to support one project over another for months and ended up throwing its weight behind both. Rough outlines of the projects include additional sidewalk and bike lanes as well as additional infrastructure.

At the TPB committee’s most recent meeting, Aug. 17, issues of money dominated discussion. Requirements for Safe Routes funding include a 20 percent match on the part of the city. In regard to Cummings, the city might be able to negotiate using an investment being made in by the Salem-Keizer School District – to install sidewalks on the school campus – as matching funds. Around Kennedy, which is the larger of the two projects, the city would likely need to come up with the matching money on its own.

Committee Member David Dempster was a proponent of having a back-up plan.

“We have a Safe Routes grant opportunity coming up, but if we have several problems, ODOT occasionally comes up with other grants,” Dempster said. “I think there is a better chance of getting that money than the Safe Routes for School grant.”

Dempster also advocated appealing for monetary support from the city when the 2019-2020 budgeting cycle begins next spring.