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The decision by the New Albany Board of Aldermen to seek federal money to help improve safety and walking and bike paths around city schools is a good one.
The city decided to apply for a grant from the national Safe Routes to Schools program, which is administered by the state Department of Transportation. Cities can apply for as much as $250,000 to make improvements around schools that offer kindergarten through eighth grades.
Alderman Jeff Olson, who proposed the idea, said he thought the best case for help with improvements could be made around New Albany Middle School, which has a number of students walking or riding bikes to school.
Olson said the city is working with Jeff Williams, an Oxford engineer with experience in developing a program that would be eligible for a grant.
The grant would provide 100 percent of the funding for improvements, he said.
“We probably won’t get $250,000, but anything is more than what we have,” he said.
Olson said he is particularly concerned about improving safety for the flow of middle school students from the school to church after-school programs as well as downtown in general.
The area around Central Avenue and Apple Street might be a focus, he said.
We support the board’s decision to go after the federal money.
We think too often communities fail to take advantage of programs that are available, either because of inertia or because they are not aware of them.