Lakeside Academy has received a grant of $243,222 for sidewalk and crosswalk construction through a federal program called "Safe Routes to School," Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's office announced Thursday.
A news release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation said the money will be used in the Lakeside school zone area.
"Safe Routes to School" encourages students to walk or bike to school, while also allocating money to make walking to school safer. Tennessee has participated in the program since 2005 and has been granted more than $12.3 million through it. The money has paid for 88 projects around the state, according to the Tennessee government website.
Principal Andrea Johnson of Lakeside Academy said the school now has no crosswalks or sidewalks, although she said it does have a crossing guard on Jersey Pike.
"I am excited about it," she said. "We will be able to get sidewalks, and that's extremely important to my students."
Haslam said in a statement that the program is important to improving the health of Tennessee families by encouraging walking or bicycling.
"Projects like the sidewalk and crosswalk renovations for the Lakeside Academy school zone area help communities across the state create safer environments for students and encourage a healthy lifestyle," he said.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said in a statement that the award is "outstanding for both the Lakeside community and our city as a whole." However, he added the grant is about more than just infrastructure.
"This transportation project ultimately provides kids and families a healthy, safe way to get to school and to move around their neighborhoods," he said.
Contact staff writer Hannah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6731.
Hannah Smith is a staff reporter for the Times Free Press. She previously worked as a Pulliam Fellow at the Indianapolis Star and as a Middle East news reporter at the Global Post in Boston. She has also spent time in broadcast, interning at Channel 13 WTHR in Indianapolis, and radio, as a reporter for American Student Radio. Hannah graduated with honors from Indiana University in May with degrees in journalism and Arabic. There she ...