The Dearing Town Council announced several projects coming to fruition at their regular meeting last week:
• Mayor Sean Kelley is working on a $500,000 Safe Routes To School grant. The grant will provide sidewalks, a paved multi-use trail and school zone lights around Dearing Elementary School. Mayor Kelley said the plan is to get a sidewalk along North Main Street from the Old Augusta Road to the school.
The grant is offered to encourage children to walk to school. Education and encouragement also are offered through the grant to create a "walking school bus" in which an adult walks with children to other children's homes, where that child joins the group, and "they all walk safely together in a group like a school bus to school," the mayor said.
The public is invited to an open house session at Dearing Elementary at 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 23 to offer input on how the money will be spent and how the infrastructure will be used.
"We're one of the few in this area to apply, so we shouldn't have any problem getting it," Mayor Kelley said, adding that the plan has to be in place to receive the grant. "So, we need a big turnout from the community."
• Travelers on Hwy. 278 soon will see a new sign in front of the Town Hall. Several months ago, the council approved purchasing a new electronic display sign, similar to the one in nearby Grovetown. Councilman Allen Axon said the sign will be a new way of communication to keep the citizens informed of events. Councilman Judson Story gathered prices from different companies, and the council approved the lowest bid of $20,200 from Finuf Sign Co. in Martinez.
• After voting last summer to implement a charge for trash pick-up to town residents, Mayor Kelley announced the fee will begin next month. Residents will notice the $12 charge on their monthly water/sewage bill. The fee is not optional, and penalty for non-payment will be termination of water service to the address.
The free trash pick-up service previously provided has cost the town over $20,000 annually. Mayor Kelley said covering that expense will allow the council to work on other projects, such as additional public safety coverage or improvements to the town.
After receiving bids for the service, the council signed a three-year contract with Advanced Disposal for weekly pick-up on Wednesdays.