Communities receive safe school grants

Oxford’s middle-schoolers soon will cross Washington Avenue to the Boys amp& Girls Club with greater safety after a traffic safety project is completed.
Oxford’s students, along with those in the South Tippah County School District, are being encouraged to walk to school for its exercise and health benefits.
The two Northeast Mississippi projects were awarded more than $350,000 of the $3 million allocated in Mississippi for Safe Routes to School grants.
The city of Oxford, South Tippah School District and town of Tishomingo were among 14 communities in Mississippi to have projects funded. Oxford received $169,391 and South Tippah $211,875.
“The speed of traffic on the street in front of Oxford Middle School is a problem, getting children from one side of the street to the other,” said Planning Director Tim Akers.
“The infrastructure part of the grant will pay for a traffic calming project. The noninfrastructure part of the grant will be used to develop a walk to school program and curriculum that promotes physical activity in schools.”
Similarly, the grant for South Tippah will go to repair existing sidewalks in the town of Blue Mountain, said Superintendent Frank Campbell.
The Safe Routes to School Program of the Mississippi Department of Transportation was launched about three years ago to encourage kids to ride their bikes or walk to school.
“We want to increase the number of children walking and biking to school so that we’re increasing physical activity, reducing traffic congestion around the schools and improving air quality around our schools,” said state program coordinator Cookie Leffler.
Other communities receiving funding include the cities of Greenville, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Hernando, Jackson, Long Beach and Meridian, as well as Hinds and Noxubee counties, the Gulfport Police Department and the town of Pelahatchie.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal