Hattiesburg receives grant

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The city of Hattiesburg has been granted nearly $300,000 to start a Safe Routes to School project.

The project promotes walking and cycling in a safe environment.

"We found that very few of our children walk to school or cycle to school and as I remember that was a primary method of getting to school," said Alan Oubre with Hattiesburg Public Schools.

Oubre is one of several city officials who worked together to get the grant. He said this program will yield great benefits.

"It will also cut down on traffic congestion and pollution in our city, and it would make things safer for many of our school children," Oubre added.

Rowan Elementary School's surrounding community will be the first to receive the installments. Three sidewalks and four crosswalks will be added.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree praised the collaboration from city, state, and school officials.

"We received those funds because we had a coalition of people together, so you can stretch that dollar a little bit better when you try to take care of the problems that exist in more than one jurisdiction.," said Dupree.

State representative Toby Barker said this program is the right step to making Mississippians healthier.

"I think walkability not only keeps our children safe, but it's also something for our neighborhoods and it can be a real competitive advantage for our neighborhoods in the city to really work on their walkability," said Barker. "I think it promotes community in a way that you don't find anywhere else."

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