SPANISH FORT – A sidewalk construction project estimated at more than $750,000 will complete the extension of walkways from Spanish Fort High School to Spanish Fort Middle School.
The Spanish Fort City Council voted Monday, Oct. 4, to approve building sidewalks on Jimmy Faulkner Drive from Dunlin Avenue north to Spanish Fort Middle School.
Mayor Mike McMillan said the work will extend sidewalks along the major thoroughfare from the Spanish Fort High School north to Spanish Fort Middle School. The sidewalk now ends about one mile south of the middle school.
“This sidewalk will run from Dunlin Avenue all the way up to the middle school going over Sibley Creek,” McMillan said. “That’s the most expensive part of the project, building a walkway to the side of that to extend our sidewalks from the high school all the way to the middle school. To the north of there is part of the Highlands where they have walking trails already from D’Olive all the way up to Bromley or thereabouts through our parks.”
The project is expected to cost $756,578, Davis Conner, city attorney, said. A federal grant through the Transportation Improvement Program will pay 80 percent of the construction costs. The city will provide 20 percent, an estimated $159,315, he said.
McMillan said some of the area where the sidewalk is planned is outside the Spanish Fort city limits, Baldwin County will pay some of the city’s 20-percent share of the costs to build sidewalks in the unincorporated areas. He said the Sibley Creek crossing, however, is in the city and the cost of crossing the waterway will be paid by Spanish Fort.
Councilman Carl Gustafson said the sidewalk now built on Jimmy Faulkner has been popular with residents.
“I see strollers,” he said. “I see people walking dogs. I see young and old alike using that thing and I think that definitely adds a lot to our city and the walkability of the city and the outdoor lifestyle, so this is a great thing.”
During a council work session, Gustafson said he has also seen golf carts on the walkway.
“There are people with golf carts on it and I would like to explore putting a sign on there that would at least maybe deter some of that,” Gustafson said.
McMillan said city police know that golf carts have been used on the sidewalks and are monitoring the problem. He said city officials also do not want residents using the carts on a busy road like Jimmy Faulkner Drive.
The mayor said the first priority for police is restricting underage drivers from using golf carts.
At the Oct. 4 meeting, the council also approved paying the engineering firm of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood to design the sidewalk project at a cost of $61,600.