Wednesday, May 25, 2016
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Construction crews work on a new sidewalk that runs along Main Street in Tuttle. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)
By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

Tuttle football fans will have an easier time getting in and out of Bill Hinkle Field this Friday night.
The City recently added a sidewalk along Main Street, just south of the stadium.

The Safe Crossing Sidewalk Project, which was funded through a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, includes more than 1,000 feet of concrete sidewalks on the north side of Main St. The new sidewalk extends from S.W. 2nd Street to the eastern gate of the football field.

“We have received an outpouring of support for the project,” City Manager Tim Young said. “A lot of people are excited to have the nice, clean sidewalk in front of the high school field. And they’re excited that people won’t have to jog out in the middle of the street anymore.”

Construction crews started the project last week. They are expected to have the sidewalk completed before Friday’s homecoming game against Plainview.

The project cost $47,529. The ODOT grant will cover the majority of the project, with the City chipping in about $10,000.

While city officials said the project is a hit with many residents, not everyone is cheering.

Some members of the Rooker-Wallace American Legion Post 176 are unhappy with the project which runs in front of their building at the corner of Main St. and Cimarron Rd. Post Commander Elmer Johnson said they were surprised last week when they saw construction crews digging up an embankment in front of the building.

“No one said anything to us about it. They just did it,” Johnson said.

The sidewalk design did not sit well with the veterans group. Johnson said the steep slope down to the sidewalk will create maintenance issues.

 “It will be nice to have the sidewalk there but we don’t know how we’re going to take care of the grass around it,” Johnson said. “There is a two or three foot drop on the side of it. We used to just mow it all there. But now it looks like we can only weed eat it, and that takes a lot of time.”

After hearing from American Legion members, the construction company modified the sidewalk in front of the building. A curb was added on the backside of the sidewalk, reducing the slope of the hill. City Engineer Jeff Cowan said the change will add minimal cost to the project.

Howard Arterberry, Post 176 treasurer, said the sidewalk project was unnecessary and will create maintenance issues for the group. He said the city should have added a retaining wall in front of the American Legion building.
“There are a lot of better things this money could have been spent on,” he said. “I don’t know why they can’t fix the roads but they build sidewalks.”

The Safe Crossing Sidewalk Project is funded through a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). In 2006, Tuttle was awarded $49,485 grant to install crosswalk signals at Cimarron Rd. and Main St. The city later requested to amend the project due to cost issues with the crosswalk signals.

In 2010, the grant was amended allowing the city to improve and extend sidewalks on Main St. between N.W. 2nd and N.E. 3rd streets. Last fall, bids for the project came in more than $12,000 over budget. The city again amended the project, stopping the sidewalk at the east end of the football field.

The city council awarded the project in April to All Roads Paving, Inc. at a cost of $47,529.90.
Construction of the sidewalk started Monday, Aug. 26.

The City will also be adding new sidewalks in the future as part of a $200,000 Safe Routes to School grant. The project will add sidewalks connecting the schools. Young hopes the project will begin spring/summer 2014.

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