Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller recently contacted Paris City Manager Grayson Path to share that Paris has been awarded a grant to aid the construction of a project to rebuild First Street SE and sidewalks between Lamar Avenue and Clarksville Street.
The $500,000 grant is the highest amount that can be awarded from the department’s Texas Community Development Block Grant Downtown Revitalization / Main Street Program and requires a minimum 15% match from the City.
City of Paris Main Street Coordinator Cheri Bedford worked with Charles Edwards of GrantWorks, Inc. to submit the grant application.
“This is spectacular news for the City of Paris, residents and visitors to our city,” Bedford said. “This project will enhance accessibility and improve the area’s usability as both a street and event location.”
The concept and design merge well with the Downtown Master Plan developed by the Toole Design Group. That plan was adopted by the Paris City Council in 2019.
The DMP notes that the street and sidewalks in this area are dilapidated and need improvement.
The design was a collaborative effort between the City and adjacent property owners who are investing in the area.
The plan removes handicap accessibility barriers, allowing for no curbs or steps necessary to enter buildings.
Eight intersection bump-outs will improve pedestrian safety when crossing Lamar Avenue and Clarksville Street.
The bump-outs will also enhance visibility for vehicular traffic in the area of First Street SE intersections with Lamar Avenue and Clarksville Street.
“The property owners have worked closely with the City to make this happen. It was our third attempt to secure this grant, and it proved to be the charm,” Bedford continued. “Once completed, we can close the street for smaller events that wouldn’t
justify closing the downtown plaza area.”
“This project would not likely be possible for inclusion in the City budget for several years without this grant.” Path said. “With this grant, the City can invest the local matching funds and receive more than a half-million dollars worth of improved streets and sidewalks.”
At the five recent Town Hall meetings, a recurring topic was the need for more and improved sidewalks, better accessibility, and pedestrian safety.
Bedford and Path both believe this will be a positive step toward addressing those concerns.
The TxCDBG program receives funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development CDBG fund.
The Texas Department of Agriculture then evaluates and awards grants to cities with less than 50,000 residents and counties with nonmetropolitan populations under 200,000 for projects that meet CDBG objectives.