TUPELO - A citywide sidewalk project could get handed to the Major Thoroughfare Committee to fund and implement if a City Council idea takes root.
Several council members suggested this month that the thoroughfare group, which spends voter-approved taxpayer money on road projects, also tackle sidewalks.
The pedestrian paths are lacking in most parts of the city and are noticeably absent along major arteries where most of Tupelo's commerce lies.
What's more, the city's recently adopted comprehensive plan, Tupelo 2025, calls for more sidewalks and bike paths to promote walking and ease traffic congestion.
But funding is a problem. It costs roughly $3,200 in labor, equipment and material to build 1,000 square feet of sidewalk, said interim Public Works Department Director Sid Russell. And lately, the city's tight budget means funds are spent on more pressing matters.
Major Thoroughfare Chairman Greg Pirkle said this week his committee would gladly take responsibility for sidewalks if that's what the public wants.
Tupelo residents vote every five years whether to extend the Major Thoroughfare Program into another phase. It's halfway through phase four right now.
Pirkle said that if the council is serious about the idea, it should be part of the next vote - in two years - so the public can decide.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also read her blog, The Government Grind, at NEMS360.com.