News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Mill City awarded $2 million for school sidewalk improvements

Mill City has been awarded a $2 million grant to improve pedestrian safety at local schools as part of Oregon’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.

The funding will be used to install or replace 2,500 feet of sidewalk along Santiam Elementary, Santiam Junior/Senior High and Santiam Canyon Early Childhood Center, as well as curb and crosswalk improvements.

City Manager Staci Cook said in a memo to the Mill City City Council Jan. 19 the funding will complete core pedestrian improvements around the schools.

Mill City applied for the funds with the Santiam Canyon School District as a co-applicant. The district has agreed to provide the bulk of a 20 percent match in funds required by the program.

District Superintendent Todd Miller said it has taken years of partnering with the city and multiple unsuccessful attempts to secure the grant, and they are now able to make substantial safety upgrades they would not have otherwise been able to afford.

“Creating safer walking and biking lanes is amazing for our students, while also benefiting the community as a whole,” said Miller. “Grant writing takes thought, patience and a willingness to take a risk that it may not pay off. I am so glad the city was willing to keep at this grant.”

The specific areas planned for improvements are SW Evergreen Street, SW Fourth Avenue, SW Third Avenue, and SW Cedar Street. 

The project also includes the addition of ADA-compliant crosswalks and a rapid flashing beacon at the intersection of SW Evergreen Street and S First Avenue.

Mill City was among 26 applicants awarded a total of $32.4 million when the Oregon Department of Transportation announced recipients Jan. 12. The state prioritized low-income students and projects addressing serious safety concerns.

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