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Columbia aldermen ponder Fonsoe St. sidewalk request

The Columbia Board of Aldermen on Dec. 3 consented to installing a sidewalk on Fonsoe Street between Main Street and Scuppernong Drive.

Many students who reside south of Scuppernong Drive walk on Fonsoe Street as they go to and from the Columbia Middle-High School campus.

Sarah Fox, chairman of the tri-county Safe Kids Riverbend Coalition, requested the board to appropriate $28,000 to install a sidewalk in the one block area.

She said the coalition has $17,500 on hand, but that NCDOT officials estimate the project will cost $45,500.

Mayor James Cahoon suggested referring Fox’s request to Rhett White, town manager, for the purpose of exploring options that would “delineate” a walkway without actually paving a sidewalk. The board concurred.

The solution White is to search for would cost considerably less than $45,500, perhaps no more than $17,500.

The coalition was notified in January 2017 that it had been awarded a $20,000 Safe School Zone grant to make permanent infrastructure improvements where children walk.

Columbia and Tyrrell County Schools officials announced plans in April 2017 to improve safety in six school zones.

Included was Fonsoe Street between Main Steet and U.S. 64 (Scuppernong Drive) and recommendations were: (1) mark edge line to delineate space between vehicles and walkers/bikers, (2) add Wildcats paw prints to walking/biking space to indicate its use and (3) at U.S. 64 extend curb using paint and delineator posts to shorten the U.S. 64 crossing distance and create space for pedestrians to stand.

Also on U.S. 64, the planners repeated a recommendation to enlarge the School Zone by moving its western boundary to Kohloss Street.

Safe Kids Riverbend Coalition is a partnership between schools, law enforcement, social services and other agencies in Martin, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

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