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City hopes TE grant hits the spot

POSTED: November 28, 2011 6:19 p.m.

The city of Springfield’s efforts to improve Laurel Street are getting an unexpected boost.

The city has been given a $300,000 transportation enhancement grant from the state Department of Transportation for its streetscape project. The money became available when Statesboro couldn’t use all of a grant it received, according to City Manager Brett Bennett.

“We’re very fortunate to get that TE grant,” he said. “There are strings attached and hoops to jump through. For cities like us, we couldn’t do (the streetscape) without it.”

Mayor pro tem Jeff Ambrose cautioned that $300,000 sounds “big,” but added “it’s not going to go far on phase 2.”

Said council member Charles Hinely: “I’d like to get $200,000 more.”

The grant is an 80/20 match, and the city hopes to add its share plus its proceeds from the service delivery strategy agreement for roadwork. Bennett said that may be enough to continue the streetscape project as far as Madison Street.

“But we can’t let up on the DOT,” Hinely said.

Council members also tabled action on a proposed golf cart ordinance revision.

“It’s been in the works for quite some time,” Bennett said.

Council members wanted to take a closer look at the state law on golf carts and what would be required on those carts to operate at night.

“Night time driving, that’s the issue,” Bennett said. “There’s enough questions to dig into it a little more.”

Ambrose offered that a light to go atop the carts would be inexpensive, but any blinkers and brake lights might be a problem.

“In my mind, visibility is the key,” said council member Kenny Usher.

Usher said Springfield Police Chief Paul Wynn has often come across golf carts “full of kids,” and has called their parents to come get them. Usher added Wynn has said that he felt there was no ordinance behind the lack of safety measures on golf carts on the road at night and he had little authority to stop it.

“We could do this for six years,” Hinely said of the golf cart ordinance, “and still not get it right.”

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