JASPER, Tenn. - The plan to build and improve some sidewalks in downtown Jasper is moving forward now that city leaders have chosen an engineer for the project.
The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously last week to accept the terms of an $18,600 engineering contract with CTI Engineers Inc. in Chattanooga.
The city saved $16,500 on the engineering fees because city officials will perform the project inspection duties.
Mayor Paul Evans and Streets and Sanitation Supervisor Tim Davenport will serve as the project's inspectors after completing certification training next week.
"That's pretty close to half of the cost of the [original engineering] contract amount," Evans said.
Gary Cosby, an engineer with CTI, said he had no problem with allowing city officials to serve in that capacity because it is a "part-time job" and requires only "spot checks" on the work.
He said the sidewalk project covers three sections including 1,000 feet that would connect Jasper Park with Jasper Elementary School.
Another 500-foot section would run along Seventh Street from the Jasper Park walking trail to Betsy Pack Drive.
"The longest piece starts there, right on the other side of Betsy Pack, and goes all the way down to the [Marion County Courthouse] square," Cosby said.
That lengthy part of the project also represents the greatest challenge from an engineering standpoint, he said.
"There's already a sidewalk there," Cosby said. "There's portions of it that we may be able to use, but not a lot. It's going to have to be substantially redone."
TDOT requires the sidewalk along Betsy Pack Drive to be constructed according to "highway standards," and that makes the engineering work cost more, he said.
"It's a rather detailed design," Cosby said. "It's quite an involved job."
The city was awarded a $100,000 transportation alternatives grant recently through the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The grant includes 80 percent funding for the proposed project with a 20 percent cash match from the city, which means the entire project can be completed with Jasper paying only $20,000.
Officials said the sidewalks must be completed within five years to meet the grant requirements.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.