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Grant to blaze trail for schools
Vickery area will benefit
sidewalk vertical crop jd
A sidewalk that ends at a bank on Post Road could be extended to the Vickery Creek schools. - photo by Jim Dean
Thanks to a $500,000 federal grant, students will have a safe sidewalk system to walk and ride bicycles to and from two southwestern Forsyth schools.

More than 830 students at Vickery Creek elementary and middle schools will benefit from the new system.

Forsyth was one of 13 counties to receive a portion of $4.6 million in federal money through the national Safe Routes to School program.

“It is unifying the community all around the area and also promoting a healthier alternative to riding the bus,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, school system spokeswoman.

“We are thrilled to have this project at Vickery and hope to pursue it again for other communities.”

Bryan Carlisle, the school district’s GIS coordinator, said the project will link the schools to Dressage, Polo Fields, Vickery and Wynfield subdivisions.

“We wanted to look at a campus in the county that would have the biggest impact from a grant like this,” he said. “It’s going to be designed for ... kids to be able to ride their bikes and walk to school.”

Carlisle said the plan would also put bicycle racks at the schools and provide sidewalk access to nearby Vickery Village and the Forsyth County Family YMCA.

The design, which will be handled by the county, must be approved by the state Department of Transportation.

Forsyth County leaders worked with the school system to seek the grant. Caracciolo said the money provided a great opportunity “to work in partnership with the county.”

Carlisle said the design could take as long as two years, meaning sidewalks likely won’t be complete until the 2012-13 school year.

District 3 County Commissioner Jim Harrell said he hopes the sidewalk routes will also eventually connect to the Big Creek Greenway.

“That would keep a lot of traffic off of the highways and just make the access easier,” said Harrell, who represents the area on the commission. “The citizens are asking for it. They want it.

“It would be real easy for folks in this area ... just to walk down there or ride down there instead of having to drive in their car. It really seems like an obvious thing to do.”

Commissioners must approve the grant, which does not require matching funds, at an upcoming meeting.

Harrell said the project will move “as quickly as the process will allow.”