MEMPHIS – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced five grants totaling more than $1.4 million for Shelby County to make Walker Avenue in the University District more pedestrian friendly, enhance parks and recreation opportunities in Arlington, Collierville and Germantown, and to make the Shelby County Corrections facility more energy efficient.
“These types of projects strengthen our communities,” Haslam said. “Increasing energy efficiencies saves taxpayer dollars, and making our cities more pedestrian-friendly and enhancing our parks and recreation areas improves the lives of Tennesseans. We want Tennessee to continue to be the very best place to live, work and raise a family, and projects like these are key to making that a reality.”
A $458,830 transportation alternative grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will fund new curbs and gutters at crosswalks, new sidewalks, decorative park benches, bike racks, and pedestrian lighting along Walker Avenue in the University District adjacent to the University of Memphis.
The transportation alternative grant is made possible through a federally funded program formerly known as transportation enhancement and is administered by TDOT. A variety of activities, such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects, are eligible for grant funds under the federal program.
“Through these grants, TDOT has funded more than $306 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “This program has assisted communities all over the state in their efforts to revitalize downtowns, highlight historic areas, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development.”
Shelby County is also receiving three Local Park and Recreation Fund (LPRF) grants and a Clean Tennessee Energy Grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
“From land acquisitions for new municipal parks to renovating and improving existing facilities, these grants help expand recreational opportunities for Tennessee citizens,” TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said. “We are always looking for ways to promote environmental awareness and energy efficiency, and these investments in our local communities help improve the quality of life for all Tennesseans.”
A $250,000 LPRF grant will be used to construct athletic fields at the new Forrest Street Park in Arlington.
Another $250,000 LPRF grant will be used for the Wolf River Boulevard Greenbelt Trail in Collierville. Phase I of the project will include a .58 mile trail, two pedestrian bridges, an observation deck for wildlife viewing and educational opportunities, and a small trailhead with four parking spaces and entrance signage.
A $208,000 LPRF grant will be used for a hay barn pavilion at the Bobby Lanier Farm Park in Germantown. The pavilion will offer farm-based education and also serve as an event center.
The LPRF is a 23-year old state program that provides local governments with resources to support development and improvements to local parks, greenways, trails and recreational facilities. Grant recipients were selected through competitive scoring with careful consideration given to the projects that met the selection criteria and expressed the greatest local recreation need. All LPRF grants require a 50 percent match by the recipient.
A $250,000 Clean Tennessee Energy Grant will be used to make the Shelby County Corrections facility more energy efficient and sustainable. Shelby County will add multiple solar thermal systems on housing units to be used as the primary source for heating water instead of natural gas and an ozone laundry system to conserve on both natural gas and water. Inmates will be trained during the installation and maintenance of these products as a re-entry strategy. The estimated long-term savings over a 20-year period for the full project is more than $1.6 million.
Clean Tennessee Energy Grants were established by the Haslam administration in 2012 to fund energy efficiency projects for local governments and municipalities, utilities, and other private and public organizations across Tennessee. These grants support projects designed to reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and create cost savings.