CAIRO — Two towns are joining forces to save money in the name of pedestrian safety.
Cairo and Greenville are embarking on sidewalk projects simultaneously to increase their efficiency. Cairo’s project will involve installing sidewalks from Cumberland Farms to the Cairo Elementary School, with a section running along the rear of Cumberland Farms, connecting to Dinger Road, then Bross Street and back to Main Street, creating a loop.
“We have two projects that are really close together,” Cairo Town Supervisor John Coyne said Wednesday. “We can have one staging area and save everybody money. It will be beneficial to both communities.”
Greenville Town Supervisor Paul Macko did not return calls for comment.
The town is changing the scope of the project to increase its savings, Coyne said.
“The previous town board put this out to bid two times already and it [came back] too high,” he said.
The two projects combined, when put out to bid in November, came back more than $800,000 over budget, according to meeting minutes from the Greenville Town Board. Cairo’s final share of the cost won’t be determined until the bids are approved.
The town highway department and parks department will take on the “finish work” for the project, such as planting grass seed and shrubbery, Coyne said.
“I’m glad we are able to revamp the scope of it,” Coyne said. “We will save a considerable amount of money.”
The consultants on the project, Creighton Manning Engineering, are changing the bid package to reflect that Cairo will do the finish work in-house and the project will go out to bid the middle of next week, Coyne said.
“My goal is to have a shovel in the ground before May 1,” Coyne said.
The town will be responsible for 20% of the cost of the project, with the state Department of Transportation picking up the remainder of the bill. The town will not have final costs until bids have been accepted, Coyne said.
Greenville’s project is expected to cost $982,500, according to town minutes. Because all expenses must be paid up front and then be reimbursed at 80% by the state, Greenville authorized a $750,000 bond over a 20-year period for the project, according to meeting minutes.
“This should have been done many years ago,” Coyne said, adding that the project has been in the works since 2008.
“We need to keep people safe,” he said. “Walking in the street is not a safe thing.”
Enforcement at crosswalks along Main Street will be increased, Cairo Police Chief Richard Busch said at Monday’s meeting.
A hairstylist who worked at The Hair Lab on Main Street in Cairo was struck and killed in a car-pedestrian accident Jan. 3, 2019, while crossing the street.
In addition to increased safety, the new walkway will provide an opportunity for recreation, Coyne said.
The plans include adding a stone path for bicycling and walking from the back of Cumberland Farms to Dinger Road behind the Cairo Elementary School, he said.
The new loop will also connect to the Angelo Canna Town Park, Coyne said.
“Eventually, I’d like to add benches along [the path],” he said.
Traffic should not be greatly affected by the project, Coyne said.
“The impact should be very minor because we’re not working in the road itself,” he said.