Manhattan will receive nearly $2.4 million from the State of Kansas for a pair of infrastructure projects, included in a host of projects receiving funds through the Kansas 2022 Transportation Alternatives Program.
“Manhattan Catholic School students and staff will soon find it much easier and safer to cross the street as they go between classes, lunch and the gym,” Governor Laura Kelly said Thursday, announcing the awards for the competitive Kansas Department of Transportation grant program outside Seven Dolors Catholic Parish in Manhattan.
The program operates with a mission of bettering safety and mobility in communities across Kansas through funding a variety of projects updating bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Statewide, the grants awarded this year amount to $28.5 million committed to 30 different communities for fiscal year 2023-2024.
Requiring a 20 percent local match as part of the program, amounting to $7 million in additional infrastructure investments along with the State’s contributions. In Manhattan, the funds will be used for sidewalk improvements on Fort Riley Boulevard and the rehabilitation of Juliette Street including the brick surface just down the road from the announcement.
“These projects happen because Manhattan worked hard to seek out these opportunities and put them to work, including seeking community input and engaging the public,” says Mayor Linda Morse, one of numerous local officials in attendance Thursday. “These projects we will be receiving today are the result of those collaborative efforts at the local and State level.
“Manhattan is eager to get these projects going.”
These 2022 TA grants are part of the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, which since 2019 Kelly touted has awarded now $59 million for 91 projects and which saw its funding levels boosted this year by federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.
Also in the region, St. George also received an award this year as part of the TA Program just over $1 million to improve its bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Junction City also took home $389,000 for sidewalk improvements along Spring Valley Road.
KDOT Sec. Julie Lorenz says these dollars strengthen communities by allowing communities to work better for people and better connect neighbors with one another.
“That’s what these projects do,” says Lorenz. “They help build community belonging and connection and pride. We can have nice things, we should have nice things, but these projects only are possible because we’re working together.”
Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Jared Tremblay was also among speakers Thursday, representing the federally designated group to carry out multi-modal transportation planning for a region spanning Junction City, Manhattan and Wamego. Tremblay called it an exciting day for the Flint Hills region, and says the 2022 funded projects and those like them in the past have positive impacts on the Manhattan community.
“They’ve improved the safety of our roads, connected neighborhoods to schools, and created infrastructure that allows our region to be healthier and happier.”
Numerous Manhattan Catholic Schools students were in attendance as well as Principal Mike Hubka and Pastor Ryan McCandless, getting an opportunity to interact with Gov. Kelly following the presentation.